"Trio Settecento" translates roughly to "Eighteenth-Century
Trio," or more literally "seventeen hundred trio." Given that title, the musicians heard
on Friday's Indy Early Music program played at least a century too early. One may safely
assume, however, that these performers delve fully into music from the 1700s in
other programs. In
any case they did a fine job with blending Elizabethan music from the 16th and
early 17th centuries with that of Henry Purcell from the 17th's final 20 years
(he lived only from 1659 to 1695).
Players Rachel Barton Pine, Baroque violin; John Mark
Rozendaal, viol da gamba; and David Schrader, harpsichord and organ, formed the
trio, welcoming guest performers David Douglass, Baroque violin; and Ellen
Hargis, soprano. We
can't have Elizabethan music without singing, and we can't have Elizabethan
singing without the period's greatest exponent of song, William Byrd. But we did in this
was represented only in his all-instrumental "Sellinger's Rownde," a lively program
Hargis delivered the first vocal number next, "Love's Constancy,´a song by Thomas Carew (1595?-1639?). Possessing a nicely
centered vocalism, Hargis ranged from subtle opulence to a "white" delivery. She followed with
Carew's "The Marigold," then "The Lark" and then "Beauty which all men admire,"
both by anonymous, who seems to proliferate works in all eras. After hearing "Pavan" and "Faronell's
Ground" by the four instrumentalists, Hargis returned to give us another song from
an unknown composer, "Stay, o stay," with four verses on the suggestive side, a
girl wanting her lover to remain with her: "Come and rest thee on my bosom."
An all-instrumental Suite No. 4 in C Major by William Lawes
(1605-1645) ended the first half, a three dance-movement work with the three
string players and Schrader playing the organ (a miniature pipe organ whose
lack of projection made it seem bashful).
The second half was given entirely over to Purcell,
beginning with "Musik for a While" from his incidental music to Oedipus (1692), the play by John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee. Hargis was
accompanied by Rosendaal and Schrader. This was followed by seven "Ayres,
Compos'd for the Theatre" in which our artists varied in their contributions. Hargis dominated with
two Airs from Distress'd
Innocence, one from The Virtuous Wife
and "Sweeter than Roses" from Pausanius.
Best among the songs were "A hymn at Evening," with verses by
Dr. William Fuller (1608-1675). Here Hargis let out all her stops, ending with
a "hallelujah" sequence.
Throughout the program, our four players and one singer combined
consummate artistry with thorough scholarship. I missed, however, a projection of "attitude"--a
lack of a polished "presentation" which was present in the preceding IEM groups
(e.g. playing through a "set" without allowing applause, better coordinated
stage motion and direction during selection transitions). Ergo they needed to give the nearly
full house a better "show." July 10; Indiana History Center