Sunday, May 6, 2012

Renaissance Man

Adriano Banchieri
Our 2011–12 season comes to a close … with a laugh … in the beautiful Hibben Gallery of the San Diego Museum of Art! The La Jolla Renaissance Singers will be performing the 20 part madrigal comedy Fete for the Evening of Carnival Thursday Before Supper by Adriano Banchieri (1568–1634).

Never heard of Banchieri? Me, neither! Director Wendy D. W. Clemente refers to him as a “one hit wonder.” Banchieri wrote 12 madrigal comedies, an equal number of Mass settings, and various liturgical music. His one hit? The 12th movement from this larger 20 part work being presented, Contrappunto bestiale alla mente, or Counterpoint of the animals. This one movement has been a favorite of choirs through the centuries. This is a rare opportunity to hear Banchieri’s big hit in the context of the larger piece and you really don’t want to miss it.

Banchieri was a true Renaissance man: a Benedictine monk better known as a theoretician who established the system for realizing figured bass. He also founded the Academia del Floridi, an instrumental music society that counted Claudio Monteverdi as one of its members. This is no stodgy liturgical work; it opens with:

Modern Pleasure invites everyone to a work designed to please and find favor. It's a party and you're all invited, especially if you're young and in love.

The La Jolla Renaissance Singers are a local treasure and their history with our Museum concerts goes back to the very beginning of these joint productions with the Museum. Their glorious sound fills the Hibben Gallery, leaking out throughout the rest of the museum, drawing people in. The concert is free with Museum admission. When you come, be sure to schedule some extra time, as there is always something special to see. For example, this month there is an enhanced collection of French art, bolstering the museum’s own fine collection with loans of paintings by Pablo Picasso, Paul Gauguin, Paul Serusier, Fernand Leger, Édouard Vuillard, and Pierre Bonnard.

The weather should be lovely for this Mother’s Day, a perfect day for a visit to Balboa Park. Come join us for the conclusion to our wonderful season.

—Kemer

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