Monteverdi: Mass for the Virgin from ARTEK highlights cutting-edge improvisation

ARTEK is one of New York City’s world-class early music ensembles, celebrating over 30 years of concerts in the city and touring in the United States and abroad.

Gotham Early Music Scene, Inc. (GEMS), the service and advocacy organization for early music in New York City, is forwarding the following listing information to you on behalf of ARTEK. We thank you for your attention!


Gwendolyn Toth, Director Gene Murrow
ARTEK Gotham Early Music Scene, Inc.
(212) 967-9157 or (917) 482-8645 (212) 866-0468 [email protected]
[email protected]

Monday, December 2, 2019

ARTEK, based in New York City and with a stellar reputation as one of America’s top early music ensembles, presents its 32nd season of concerts of musically significant, rarely-heard repertoire performed on period instruments in historical style, featuring the finest early music artists. “Deeply considered, beautifully sung…consistently polished, finely balanced performances.” – Allan Kozinn, The New York Times.

Saturday, December 28, 2019 at 8:00 pm
Church of St. Mary the Virgin
145 West 46th Street, Manhattan

ARTEK presents a special holiday concert of a monumental Mass of the early baroque master, Claudio Monteverdi, together with Christmas and Marian motets and instrumental music by Monteverdi, Gabrieli, and others in the grand concerted style of Venetian music for the great holidays of the church. Thirty musicians will perform under the direction of Gwendolyn Toth. Music includes not only the Missa in Illo Tempore of 1610, the companion piece published with Monteverdi’s Vespers, but also Monteverdi’s splendid Gloria a 7 (1641), grand sinfonias, echo music, polychoral spatial music, and haunting florid solos, all in the glorious acoustics at Church of St. Mary the Virgin.

Musicologist Jeffrey Kurtzman, who collaborated in researching the music for this concert, will give a pre-concert talk at 7 pm on the vocal/instrumental performance practice of Italian masses in Monteverdi’s time, including their incorporation of motets and instrumental music, as will be heard in the concert. ARTEK will also maintain its reputation for groundbreaking historical performance practice by incorporating improvised ornamentation throughout, as detailed in all the treatises of the late 16th-century for singers as well as instrumentalists.

“Until now, the late Renaissance prima prattica style has been performed as a pure unadorned “cathedral” style of singing, rarely doubled with instruments, often at too high of a pitch, and with anachronistic non-vibrato singing in the upper parts,” says ARTEK director Gwendolyn Toth. “We want to show that there is a continuum between the high Renaissance style of Monteverdi’s Missa and the “new” baroque style of the Vespers (and Gloria a 7), in which Monteverdi wrote out ornamentation. Both styles include florid diminutions and vocal displays of virtuosity, but in the Missa these should be improvised and in the Vespers these are written out.”

Other vocal pieces on the program by Giovanni Gabrieli, Monteverdi’s predecessor at St. Mark’s in Venice, show the beginning of the compositional process of writing out ornamentation as well. Also on the program are “echo” pieces, both instrumental and vocal, familiar now in Monteverdi’s Vespers, but a practice already well-known in the late 16th-century. ARTEK will be performing the Missa and all the music at the correct pitch (a fourth down according to the rules of chiavette, but at A=465 and in quarter-comma meantone), using Venetian Latin, and with the plethora of instruments that would have participated in a festive mass in Venice: violins, viols, dulcians, cornetti, sacbuts, theorbos, cittern, lute, and organ – and also including contrabasso dulcian and contrabasso sacbut, for the type of ensemble sonority described in Michael Praetorius’s Syntagma Musicum, 1619.

The thirteen outstanding singers will be Laura Heimes, soprano; Christina Kay, soprano; Clara Rottsolk, soprano; Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano; Eric Brenner, countertenor; Clifton Massey, countertenor; Ryland Angel, countertenor & tenor; Andrew Fuchs, tenor; Jacob Perry, tenor; Michael Steinberger, tenor; Gene Stenger, tenor; Peter Becker, bass-baritone; and Steven Hrycelak, bass. The instrumental ensemble will be led by violinist Cynthia Freivogel.

Join ARTEK for the outstanding 17th-century concert of the season.

$10-$75. All seats reserved.
Tickets are available in advance from Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS). or call (212) 866-0468.

For further information or to set up an interview:

Call (917) 482–8645 or [email protected] Website:


Media services provided by: Gotham Early Music Scene, Inc. 340 Riverside Drive # 1-A, New York, NY 10025

Complete Program Information


Singers: Laura Heimes, soprano; Christina Kay, soprano; Clara Rottsolk, soprano; Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano; Eric Brenner, countertenor; Clifton Massey, countertenor; Ryland Angel, countertenor & tenor; Andrew Fuchs, tenor; Jacob Perry, tenor; Michael Steinberger, tenor; Gene Stenger, tenor; Peter Becker, bass-baritone; Steven Hrycelak, bass.

Strings: Cynthia Freivogel, violin; Vita Wallace, violin; Theresa Salomon, violin & viola; Lisa Terry, viol; Arnie Tanimoto, viol.

Winds: Michael Collver, cornetto; Nathaniel Cox, cornetto; Bodie Pfost, alto sacbut; Liza Malamut, tenor sacbut; Dan Green, bass sacbut; Mack Ramsey, tenor sacbut & contrabass sacbut; Anna Marsh, dulcian; Robert Wiemken, contrabass dulcian.

Basso continuo; Daniel Swenberg, theorbo; Grant Herreid, lute & theorbo; Charles Weaver, theorbo; Dongsok Shin, organ; Gwendolyn Toth, organ & director


Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1554-1612), Canzon Duodecima a 10, CH 178 (1597)
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), Cantate Domino a 2, SV 292 (1615)
Gabrieli, Angelus Domini a 8: Alleluia, CH 23 (1597)
O Jesu mi dulcissime a 8,
Monteverdi, Gloria a 7, SV 258 (1641)
Gabrieli, Quem vidistis pastores a 14, CH 77 (1615)
Monteverdi, Missa in Illo Tempore: Credo, SV 205 (1610)


Monteverdi/Aquilino Coppini (d. 1629): Rutilante in nocte a 5, SV 86 (1609)
Biagio Marini (c.1597-1665) Sonata in eco con tre violini, op. 8 no.44 (1629)
Monteverdi, Missa a 6 In Illo Tempore: Sanctus, SV 205 (1610)
Monteverdi, Christe adoramus te a 5, SV 294 (1620)
Agnus Dei
Monteverdi, Missa a 6 In Illo Tempore: Agnus Dei, SV 205 (1610)
Gabrieli, O Jesu mi dulcissime a 8, CH 24 (1597)
Monteverdi, Gloria a 7: In gloria, SV 258 (1641)

About ARTEK:

ARTEK concerts are renowned for exciting, dramatic performances of baroque music. Founded by director Gwendolyn Toth in 1986, ARTEK features America’s finest singers and instrumentalists. Highlights of ARTEK’s past seasons include acclaimed performances of ARTEK’s theater show I’ll Never See the Stars Again at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; standing ovation performances at the Regensburg (Germany) Tage Alter Musik Festival; and the Boston, Berkeley, Bloomington and Indianapolis early music festivals in the US. ARTEK toured internationally from 1997 to 2002 with the Mark Morris Dance Group, visiting major venues in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Canada as well as more than fifty of America’s premier theaters. In the New York City area, ARTEK has appeared at Lincoln Center; Wall-to-Wall Opera at Symphony Space; Metropolitan Museum; Music Before 1800; Peak Performances in Montclair and Princeton Friends of Music series. ARTEK’s recordings of Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo, Madrigals Book 5, and other early Italian repertoire have been widely praised. ARTEK’s latest recording is Soli Deo Gloria, featuring solo cantatas of Johann Rosenmüller. The ensemble’s latest recording project is the complete Monteverdi: Madrigals, Book 7, scheduled for release in 2020.

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