Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 16: Aerodynamic

Still slightly miffed and upset at what happened during the fringe concert of the Danzi Duo, I sauntered to the Pieterskerk again. It had been a very difficult choice this afternoon. Not only had there been the choice between hearing Ignotae Deae’s concert again, or opt for the Danzi Duo’s fringe concert.

20160828 Venetian Portraits 003Another difficult choice had been between hearing a concert totally dedicated to arias by Barbara Strozzi, or hear the concert by Aerodynamic. This ensemble had been awarded the public’s prize during the 2015 Early Music Festival.

What made this such a wrench of a choice was also the fact, that Aerodynamic’s concert was going to take place in the Pieterskerk and was certainly not going to be solely instrumental. As mentioned in previous posts about concerts taking place in this Early Music Festival’s venue: it is perfect for instrumental concerts but not when a single human voice is involved.

Nevertheless, I opted for Aerodynamic. Their concert was focussing on Petrucci’s Odhecaton and Venetian innovative 15th and early 16th century music. Who can resist this? Especially, when the public awarded an important prize to the performing ensemble in 2015?

I was not disappointed; on the contrary! Harma Everts, soprano, Stephanie Brandt and Maria Martínez Ayerza recorders, totally won me over. Moreover, by now I had sussed out that one needed to sit on a church bench and as far to the front or close to the stage as possible. Sitting about 6 rows from the front, there was no problem in hearing the words of songs.

After the end of the concert, I had a chance to chat with Ms Everts about the acoustics. All three ladies had tried out various places between the altar and the start of the stage before the concert, but acoustics were problematic. The further to the back of the church, the worst. But even while performing or sitting to the side of the stage, acoustics were problematic for musicians – and the audience sitting at the back of the church.

Regardless, having now found out where to seat myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the concert. “De tous biens playne” introduced the ensemble to the public. It was already a stunning performance, which was followed by an introduction by Maria Martinez Ayerza. There was a minor change to the program: the instrumental  “L’ homme bani” was dropped from the program, because performing it would make the concert too long.

From Hayne van Ghizeghem, it went to “Ales regrets” by Alexander Agricola, followed by a medieval Flemish or Dutch song “Tmeiskin”. Things did not end well for the girl in this song. But contrary to the concert by Dialogue on a Kiss, the text of the songs could be heard fairly well.

In between each section of songs, instrumental music was played. After the concert, Ms Everts told me Ms Martínez Ayerza had used Sylvestro di Ganassi dal Fontego’s “Opera Intitulata Fontegara, published in Venice in 1535, to compose the instrumental pieces. What a shame “L’homme banni” had been dropped!

20160830 011 Utrecht Pope House

Utrecht’s Pope House, near the Pieterskerk and also a venue during the Early Music Festival

The members of Aerodynamic used the complete stage. This means the staircase and platforms which make up the stage right up to where the altar is. Hopefully, this ensured the public at the back of the church also had a delightful and impressive concert.

There were three works by Josquin Desprez, one by Antoine Brumel, another piece by Alexander Agricola, then another instrumental piece based on Sylvestro di Ganassi dal Fontego’s La Spagna. Two works by Flemish/Dutch composers ended this impressive collection of 15th and early 16th century works. A funny song by Johannes Ockenghem called “Ma bouche rit canti”. This was followed by a very endearing and charming song by Jacob Obrecht, about the problems of his daughter’s teething: “Tandernaken”.

How and why such Dutch-Flemish songs ended up in a collection of songs of Ottaviano Petrucci remains a mystery to me. But it is a delight that they were preserved in harmonice Musices Odhecaton, Canti A, in Venice around 1501.

As for Aerodynamic: this ensemble is so talented yet approachable it beats many fringe and fabulous fringe ensembles. If the ladies have not yet been approached by talent spotters frequenting the festival, they will undoubtedly end up being contracted soon. It is to be hoped they will find time to take part in the Early Music Festival 2017.

Ensemble Aerodynamic:
Harma Everts soprano;
Stephanie Brandt and María Martínez Ayerza various recorders

Hayne van Ghizeghem: De tous biens playne
Alexander Agricola: Ales regrets, Si dedero
Anonymous : Tmeiskin
Josquin Desprez : Fortuna dún gran tempo, La plus des plus, O Venus bant canti ;
Antoine Brumel : Mater patris et filia ;
Johannes Ockeghem : Ma bouche rit canti ;
Jacob Obrecht : Tandernaken

Instrumental pieces composed by María Martínex Ayerza, inspired by Sylvestro di Ganassi dal Fontego’s work “Opera intitulata Fontegara”, Venice, 1535
Ricercar sopra Malor me bat and La Spagna





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