La Traditora offers a vast range of renaissance and baroque music, which showcases their spontaneous musicianship. They collaborate as well with prestigious guest musicians and dancers for enriching their diversity of programs.
Music & Women
Idolized & Demonized
Instrumental music from 16th and early 17th century Italy and England.
Works by Tromboncino, Cara, Dalza, van Eyck, Hume…
For the ancient Greeks, the term mousikē (or the “art of the Muses”) referred to the arts of music, dance and poetry. The Renaissance adopted this classic conception and translated its muses into its subject. Women, as part of the mythology or of contemporary society, were portrayed as the most diverse characters: the beloved one and the traitor, the nymph and the witch, the mistress and the unsatisfied, the peasant and the goddess...
During the Renaissance, the woman was not only the muse of inspiration – as was the unreachable woman often found in medieval poetry - but she also became an active part of the arts. Great examples of this are the „masques“, dances cultivated in England and Italy (as mascherate) in the 16th and 17th centuries as a genre of social entertainment. These masked dances were a combination of music, poetry and dance based in mythology and allegories, and served as symbols to portray contemporary personages. Characters like witches, nymphs, mistresses and goddesses interacted in these musical plays and gave noble women of the court the opportunity to be on stage. At that time, female actors were not allowed in plays but found a way to participate through the art of dance, a genre where women were socially accepted.
With music from Italy, Ensemble La Traditora idolizes the woman with words of beauty and longing tears in solemn dances and the refined frottole of Tromboncino and Cara. With music from the Elizabethan England the listener is taken into the world of mythology where nymphs, satyrs, witches and mistresses dance to charming melodies. To finish, the woman is brought to back to earth in her different states of vanity.
Treble and bass viol, Renaissance lute and guitar, organ and percussion (voice optative)
Quiéreme Más y Dímelo Menos
Vocal and instrumental Spanish music of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Works by Cabezón, Guerrero, Enzina, Hidalgo and others
Ensemble La Traditora takes us with this ‘all Spanish’ program along the evolution of Iberian music from the Renaissance through the Baroque periods. With songs like villancicos and tonos humanos, and instrumental works like dances, pieces based on vocal models and improvisational pieces (tientos, fantasias…) they portray the vocal tradition as well as the development of the instruments and their growing independence with regard to the voices. Cabezón, Milán and Ortiz are some of the renowned composers of Spanish instrumental music showcased in this program.
“Quiéreme más y dímelo menos”: Love me more and tell me less. In the 15th and 16th centuries secular music reached a breakthrough, with vocal pieces like canciones and villancicos, which were gathered in collections like Cancionero de Palacio, Uppsala, Medinacieli and Cancionero de la Colombina. The Villancicos reached great musical value: they were secular songs with refrain, of popular character and harmonized for many voices. At the same time, villancicos for only one voice were composed with the accompaniment of the vihuela or lute. In this genre, composers like Juan de Enzina, Francisco Guerrero, Alonso Mudarra and Luys de Narváez stand out. In the 18th c., these villancicos and canciones were also known as tonos. We can distinguish between tonos a lo divino, of religious themes, and tonos humanos, which were of secular character and written in romance language. Composers like Juan Hidalgo, José Marín and Juan Arañés were responsible for the output of monodic tonos humanos with accompaniment of a thorough bass (guitar, viola da gamba and organ).
All these genres were often influenced by the new rhythms brought from the New World, adding to this music freshness and spontaneity, the same features for which Ensemble La Traditora are recognized for.
Voice, viols, guitar and lute, organ and percussion
Théâtre et Sentiments
A journey to the European courts of the Renaissance and Baroque era. Works by Caroso, Verdelotto, Playford, Dowland, Hume, Marais and Forqueray among others.
La Traditora offers us a program portraying a journey going from the European courts of the Italian Renaissance up to the French baroque, passing through the Elizabethan England. Madrigals, frotole, court dances, masquerades, folk dances and “pièces de caractère” depict the landscape of this animated voyage.
The courts of Europe from the 16th to the 18th centuries instigated and supported the arts bringing to light the greatest talents of all times. Music was not the exception, in spite it was many times conceived as a part of the leisure of the monarchy and of noble circles.
With the Madrigal, Italian Renaissance composers like Verdelotto and Cara delighted the cultivated nobility in their intimacy; for their pompous festivities on the other hand, some presented graceful and vivacious court dances in forms like pavanne, gagliarde and saltarelli. These type of dances had an important role in England’s court life as well, but here they were impregnated with the British irony and humour on one side, and with simplicity and groove on the other, creating two genera by itself: the “masques” and “folk dances”. Crossing the channel, the refined spirit of the French baroque brightens by its “pièces de caractère”, where the lush exuberance contrasts with the deepest feelings.
With its broad range of instrumental possibilities, Ensemble La Traditora achieves great variety and showcases with historical research and flair the different musical styles of the Renaissance and Baroque periods.
Treble and bass viol, Renaissance lute, Renaissance guitar and theorbo, percussion and recitation
Virtuoso instrumental music from the 17th century.
Music by Biber, Walther, Buxtehude and others.
From a thunderstorm to the lithe bouncing of a frog; from the smoothness of a breeze to a cat's miaow: nature has astounded the human race from its existence.
In this manner, composers from the early baroque found in these natural phenomena a great source of inspiration, and re-created them with drama and fantasy.
The great composers- violinists from Germany and Austria of the 17th c. absorbed masterfully the operatic lyricism and the instrumental virtuosity of the Italian composers and impregnated it with their mysticism and transcendence. Thus, they created a symbiosis: the Stylus Fantasticus”.
By mirroring nature, these composers found the capricious nature of their instruments and created works full of imagination and outstanding skill.
Some notes about the program:
The early baroque Italian composers Carlo Farina and Biagio Marini became respectively concertmaster and Kapellmeister in Germany and brought with them their virtuoso violin music across the Alps. Hence, they did not only bring their works, but they also brought the early experimentation of the violin: scordatura and other special effects, plus an array of bow strokes.
The Bohemian-Austrian composer Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber and the German Johann Jakob Walther took these Italianate innovations and achieved a virtuosity that became a major aspect of the German style during the century.
Biber took the novelty of scordatura (unusual tuning of strings) from Marini utilizing full potential of the technique and extending it even to orchestral settings. Through his virtuosic writing and refined use of polyphony, he did not only accomplish to imitate the Italian masters but also to masterfully imitate nature and animals, as in his Sonata Representativa.
Walther on the other side was a virtuoso in Paganini manner, composing exclusively for the violin. His first compositions consist of 12 Scherzi da Violin Solo – virtuoso pieces of nearly unprecedented virtuosity. His later collection of pieces for violin and continuo called Hortus Chelicus (well-planted pleasure garden), is full of creative spark and imaginative ideas. Here, Walther also evokes nature (as Farina did in Italy) and mimics an entire orchestra with much humor and finesse. His entire art is compressed in its last Capriccio.
With their polyphonic writing, Walther, Biber and colleagues had an evolutionary role, leading to the unaccompanied works of J.S. Bach.
4 musicians: Violin, viola da gamba, theorbo and organ, (2 dancers and lighting optional)