Exciting journey through time and space

  On the afternoon of June 27, 2021, I was invited to the Orchestra Rehearsal Hall of the Shanghai Shangyin Opera House to listen to a concert called “The Renaissance Pastoral Journey of the Pastoral Orchestra”. “Mu Orchestra” was founded in 2007 and is the only open choir in Shanghai dedicated to singing polyphonic music during the Renaissance period. The orchestra adheres to the principles of spontaneous formation, self-management, and voluntary participation. Most of its members are non-music chorus enthusiasts, covering legal, medical, financial and other industries of different nationalities. These should be the main reasons for its so-called “open” type. . A total of twelve people participated in the performance, including five sopranos, three altos (including a false tenor), two tenors, and two basses. Such an amateur group, which focuses on European Renaissance music, has been impressive, and the special performance of Italian idylls in this show is even more impressive.


  The Italian idyll in the 16th century was one of the important secular genres during the European Renaissance, and Italy became the music center of Europe for the first time. The concert is divided into four parts according to the development of the pastoral style: early, middle, mixed style and British pastoral, and late. Representative works of the representative composers of this style are selected in each period. The concert opened with three works by three masters, Phillippe Verdelot, Costanzo Festa, and Jacques Arcadelt at the beginning of the formation of the idyllic style. It was composed of Italian idylls at the end of the 16th century. ” The finale of the three masterpieces of Luca Marenzio, Carlo Gesualdo, and Claudio Monteverd, known as the “three carriages”. There are many famous pastoral masterpieces in the concert’s repertoire, such as Acadelt’s “White and Gentle Swan”, Marenchio’s “Lonely Meditation”, Gesualdo’s “I Die in Sadness” and so on.
  The performance of the early pastoral songs by the Orchestra better reflects the chord-like texture of the works of the period. The sound is integrated and balanced, and the music is moving, as if the singer is chanting poetry at the same rhythm. When the group performed the interpretation of the mid-term works, they selected and sang the works of the style pioneer Adrian Willaert and the most iconic composer Cipriano de Rore. When they sang, they paid great attention to the imitating of the parts and the performance of the semitone of the melody, and even the important music method of the Renaissance, the “word painting”, was very clever and remarkable. However, the pitch of individual voices in the work, the balance between the overall voices, and the neatness of voice entry are slightly inadequate.
  At that time, the Renaissance pastoral was a one-person, one-voice a cappella vocal repetition form. It was a self-entertaining vocal genre. It is now mostly sung by small or larger choirs, which also brings many aspects such as voice balance and volume contrast. Requirements. In the third part, the mixed style is called “hybrid”, which refers to the integration of the music characteristics of the light style and genre into the pastoral creation, so that the pastoral has changed from a serious face to a kind of pastoral category full of lively emotions. The English idylls formed at the end of the 16th century mainly borrowed from this Italian idyll style. This may be the reason why the concert arranged two English idylls in this part. The animal husbandry orchestra performed a relaxed and dedicated performance of this part of the works. When singing Lasso’s “Echo”, some of the singers went to the audience on the second floor to form an echo with the voices of the actors on the stage, which was quite vivid and appealing. At the end of the 16th century, the works of three Italian masters of pastoralism can be called the pinnacle of pastoral creation. In the concert, whether it is Marenchio’s surprisingly continuous chromatic voice over an octave, or the chromatic chord-like texture of the eerie “death” image of Gesualdo and the freshly moving “life” The contrast presentation of the vivid natural sound line texture, the members of the orchestra have excellent presentations in terms of sound control and voice comparison, which better express the subtle use of “word drawing” in the work.
  As an amateur chorus mainly composed of non-professionals, it is not easy for the Orchestra to interpret the Renaissance pastoral songs. Dong Chuanhong, the permanent conductor of the Orchestra and Master of Chorus Conducting at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, also gave a humorous guided appreciation on the spot. These background materials provided the foundation It not only assisted the audience to understand the past and present, aesthetic appeal and performance charm of pastoral music, but also added a bit of interest and academicity to the performance. The two return repertoires of the concert include the works of Giulio Caccini, which are the conductor and the guest vocal director, the lyrical tenor Li Chengrui, and the fragments of Monteverdi’s opera “Orfeo”. In the sense, it embodies the style evolution and genre development of Italian idyll in the sixteenth century during the Baroque period. All in all, this concert can be described as a microcosm of the historical development of pastoral style.


  I once remembered that Mr. Yu Runyang, a master of musicology, wrote the preface to the book “Chorus Classics-Chorus Selections from the European Renaissance” edited by my country’s well-known European Renaissance music expert Professor Dai Dingcheng. He pointed out in the “Preface”: “In our country’s music academia, due to various reasons, the research in this academic field has been lagging behind, and it has not really started until the past ten years.” And the interpretation of Renaissance music works. It is even rarer in the country.
  In this way, the significance and value of the establishment of this animal husbandry orchestra in Shanghai can be seen. Adhering to the original intention of the orchestra when it was established, it is its mission to interpret and promote Renaissance music. After its establishment, it held special Renaissance choral works, Roman music specials, Flemish music specials, etc. The repertoire covers Palestri The classic works of Renaissance masters such as Victoria and Tallis are truly precious and delightful. I hope that the Orchestra can persevere in the future and look forward to their wonderful presentation of more Renaissance music. I also hope that the domestic music academia and chorus groups can pay more attention to and explore the European Renaissance, the golden period of polyphonic polyphonic polyphonic works. Promote Chinese and Western music exchanges and enrich the chorus music performance stage