October 1, 2023
Benaroya Hall, Seattle
Baroque Meets Karuk
17th century works for strings and harpsichord highlighting the connections between Spain, Italy, Austria and the colonization of Turtle Island (now known as the North American continent). A string ensemble led by Anna Okada will explore works by Bartolomeo de Selma y Salaverde, Andrea Falconieri, and Isabella Leonarda, alongside music from the Karuk tradition of what is now the Pacific Coast.
“I love that Byron isn’t afraid to pair traditional favorite composers and pieces alongside works from less well-known cultures and composers, or even newly commissioned music”
— Fox Spears, Artist, Karuk tribal member, and Sound Salon board member
“The Fencing School” for strings and continuo
Bartolomeo de Selma y Salaverde:
“Vestiva i colli” for cello and continuo
Passacaglia for strings and continuo
Sinfonia no. 1 à 4
Canzona no. 1 “La Borromea”
Sonata in Dialogo “La Viena”
Sinfonia no. 3 “La Cecchina”
Corrente no. 3
Sonata no. 12 “Bergamasca”
Sonata no. 4 for two violins, cello, and continuo
Chaconne from “King Arthur”
“Byron Schenkman Pushes the limits in classical music”
— Roberta Cruger, The Advocate
Notes on the Karuk Songs
By Breana McCullough, Karuk Tribal Member
Karuk songs are understood to be a direct line and connection to our Ikxaréeyav, or Spirit People. They are in the rocks, trees, streams and everything that surrounds us. Therefore, each song is thought to be the personal expression of connection and “prayer.” Our songs are recognized as beings and are held by their original creators and families unless they are shared as a gift. These three songs were created by my mentor and language keeper, Crystal Richardson. These songs were gifted by the teacher to students and are now gifted here as an opportunity to learn, grow, and celebrate a small window into Karuk worldviews.
Notes on the Program
By Byron Schenkman
We open our season with festive music from 17th-century Europe and from the Karuk tradition of what is currently known as northern California. Baroque composers of the 17th century learned from the music of diverse nations and cultures, whether by traveling themselves or by exposure to travelers.
Johann Heinrich Schmelzer likely studied in Italy before settling in Vienna where he was employed for many years as a violinist at the Habsburg court. The Spanish bassoonist Bartolomé de Selma y Salaverde was employed in Innsbruck and published music in Venice. Andrea Falconieri led the music at the Spanish court in Naples. The violinist Biagio Marini was born in Brescia and died in Venice, but also worked in Brussels and in various German and Italian cities.
Salamone Rossi was a Jewish violinist employed as concertmaster at the court in Mantua. He published many volumes of secular Italian vocal and instrumental music including the first trio-sonatas for two violins and continuo, a genre which would become standard for composers all over Europe for about 150 years. He also published a rare collection of Jewish polyphonic sacred music, starting a potential tradition which was wiped out by the destruction of the Jewish ghetto in 1630.
Like many of the women who published music in 17th-century Italy, Claudia Rusca and Isabella Leonarda were both nuns. Rusca published just one volume of sacred vocal music which also contains two short instrumental works. Leonarda was an exceptionally prolific composer who published hundreds of works including twelve instrumental sonatas.
Henry Purcell never left his native England yet his music was influenced by various international styles. Purcell’s royal employer Charles II spent his years of exile in France and much of Purcell’s theater music, including the Chaconne from “King Arthur,” is closely modeled on French music of the time. The French chaconne had its origins in an indigenous dance brought to Spain from what is now South America.