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Saturday September 17, 7.30 pm

èlia casanova & lucentum xvi

Dolcissimi respiri
Women in Renaissance songbooks and in the Italian Seicento.

Èlia Casanova, soprano
Pere Saragossa, shawms and direction
Gebhard David, cornet
Carles Vallès, flutes and dulzian 
Antoni Lloret, shawms
Elies Hernandis, sackbuts
Ricardo Ortiz, sackbuts
Fran López, lute, theorbo and baroque guitar
Fernando Fernández, lute and baroque guitar 
Facundo San Blás, percussion



Dolcissimi respiri

Women in Renaissance songbooks and in the Italian Seicento.

Virgen reina gloriosa, by Lope de Baena (fl. 1470-1520). Barcelona songbook [BC454]

La bella malmaridada, by Gabriel Mena (1470-1528). Palacio songbook [1490-1505]


Aquella mora garrida, by Gabriel Mena. Palacio songbook

La Fille Guillemin, anonymous ballo from the Montecassino songbook (1480-90)

De ser mal casada, by Diego Fernández, Palacio songbook.


Niña e viña, anonymous from the Colombina songbook (1460-1480)


De la dulce enemiga, by Gabriel Mena, Palacio songbook.


Basciami mille, mille volte, from the Quinto libro de madrigali (1585) by Luca Marenzio (1533-1599).


Maria, dolce Maria, from the Primo libro dell musiche (1618) by Francesca Caccini (1587-1645?)


Che si può fare?, op.8 (1664) by Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)


Lasciatemi qui solo, from the Primo Libro (1618) by Francesca Caccini


Sinfonia de La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall’isola d’Alcina (1625), by Francesca Caccini


O Chiome belle, from the Primo Libro (1618) by Francesca Caccini

Chi desia di saper, from the Primo Libro (1618) by Francesca Caccini


Dolcissimi respiri, o Il silentio nocivo, op.1, (1644) by Barbara Strozzi


Amor dormiglione, from the Cantate, ariette e duetti (1651), op.2, by Barbara Strozzi

Tant lo seny y fantasia, contrafacta of the Un sarao de la Chacona, (1644) by Joan Aranyés (c.1580-c.1650), with text of the Sarao de Amor by Joan Timoneda (València, 1520-1583)

About the group

èlia casanova

Born in Faura (Valencia), Èlia Casanova graduated in singing at the Valencia Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Consol Rico, specialising in early music, with a scholarship from the Institut Valencià de la Música, at the Royal Birmingham Conservatorium with the prestigious tenor Andrew King. She has been awarded several prizes, including the Cecil Drew Oratorium Prize, the prize for the best Early Music singer at the Royal Birmingham Conservatorium, and the Special Jury Prize at the International Early Music Competition in Gijón. In 2019 her album L'Universo sulla pelle was awarded the Carles Santos prize for best heritage recovery album. He has received classes from Andreas Scholl, Jean Tubery, Richard Levitt, Maria Jonas, María Schiabo, Carlos Mena, Lambert Climent, Robert Expert, Helena Lazarska, Paloma Gutierrez del Arroyo among others and has worked with conductors such as Jordi Savall, Fabio Biondi, Massimo Spadano, Carlos Magraner, Eduardo López Banzo, Patrick Fournillier or Josep Ramon Gil-Tàrrega, among others.

As a soloist, he has performed in auditoriums, theatres, cathedrals, churches and chapels all over the world, from the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, to the Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), the Symphony Center Orchestra Hall (Chicago), the Tang Xianzu Theater in Fuzhou (China), or the Acropolium of Carthage (Tunisia), among others.


To date, he has recorded twenty-six albums with various ensembles. In the last two years he has recorded Super Lamentationes, Cristóbal de Morales, Germanías, Cantigas de Santa Maria and Mediterrània with Capella de Ministrers, among others.


He has taken part in music festivals all over the world, including a tour of the USA with Jordi Savall, the Cremona Festival, the BachFest Leipzig, the Festival Academia Musica Antica di Milano and the Festival Voix et Route Romaine in Alsace.

About the group

lucentum xvi

A group of minstrels directed by Pere Saragossa, created to perform and disseminate the rich and varied musical repertoire of the Renaissance. Bands of wind instruments, known as alta capilla, spread throughout the towns and cities of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. The main function of the minstrels in the liturgy was to accompany the vocal music, doubling the voices. In the civil sphere, the high chapel was in charge of performing dances, popular songs, and love and epic pieces of courtly and popular origin.

Among the performances of Lucentum XVI are those in Bari and Molfetta as part of the Festival Anima Mea in Puglia (Italy), Vespres Musicals of the Pedralbes Monestery in Barcelona, Festival de Música Antiga dels Pirineus, Festival Serenates of the University of Valencia, Festival de Música Antiga in Morella, Clásicos en la Frontera en la Ribagorza, Festival de Músicas Contemplativas in Santiago de Compostela, Festival de Música Sacra in Benicàssim, Festival de Música Antiga i Barroca de Peníscola.


In 2021 they released their first album entitled El Cantoral del Monestir de Santa Maria de la Murta d'Alzira, of which the specialised critics Manuel de Lara in the Scherzo Magazine have said "The performance is absolutely exquisite, full of balance in the excellent voices and instruments (...). The disc is a jewel, both for the interpretation and for the unpublished and beautiful polyphony and documentation" (June 2021).

PROGRAMme notes


Dolcissimi respiri is the title of a madrigal by the Venetian Barbara Strozzi, one of the most important women composers in history, the title of this programme. Barbara could be one of the many women singers or instrumentalists that we find in so many paintings from the Middle Ages to Romanticism. A prominence which, usually and unfortunately, is not matched by the signing of compositions, as if they were not qualified for top-level musical creation. Far from reality, we must look for the reason in the role given by the patriarchal society of those societies. Relegated to certain trades and banned from others, there were few women who managed to break the established paradigms in the field of composition.

This concert will have as a common link the female presence in Renaissance music of the 15th and 16th centuries, and the early Baroque of the 17th. We will begin with a selection of Renaissance polyphony from the Barcelona, Palau, Montecassino and Colombina songbooks. Through this compilation, we will learn about the customs and episodes of religious, noble and bourgeois women, albeit through the prism of male composers who taught us about the prevailing moralising patriarchal society.

In Virgen, reina gloriosa from the Barcelona songbook, the virgin is presented as queen, thus equating her with the "divine" monarchs, rewarding the begetting of Jesus of Nazareth, and having done so without fertilisation (!). Women in many texts are the object of desire, as in the attempt to justify adultery as being La bella mal maridada, curiously enough a work from the Palacio songsbook of the court of Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon, where such themes were funny, while women were mostly the victims of the purges of the Inquisition. On the other hand, in another of the songbook's own De ser mal casada, set to music by Diego Hernández, a woman laments the injustices and humiliations to which she is subjected. Desire for women is also present in the disturbing, because of its incitement to pederasty, Niña e viña from the Colombina, a songbook used at the court itself and preceding the aforementioned compilation by Palacio, and so known for having been acquired by Hernando Colón, son of the famous Christopher Columbus, in 1534. The longing for the loss of a Moorish woman's love because she was "kidnapped" by other Moors is narrated in Aquella mora garrida. The work that closes the Renaissance repertoire and opens the door to the Italian Seicento is another sensual piece, such as Basciame mille, mille volte (kiss me a thousand times) by Luca Marenzio. The presence of pieces written by men will have one more sample with a contrafacta of the Sarao de la Chacona by Joan Aranyés from Lleida, to which we have incorporated the text of the poem Tant lo seny y fantasía from the songbook Sarao de amor by the 16th century Valencian writer Joan Timoneda.

And now it is time for women composers and the baroque with Francesca Caccini, a singer at the Florentine court of the Medici, as were her mother Lucia and her sister Settimia. The composer's facet, however, has remained invisible under the surname associated with her father, Giulio Caccini. In 1625 Francesca, known as La Cecchina, premiered La Liberazione di Ruggiero de l'isola d'Alcina, an opera in which the male protagonist, Ruggiero, is a coward and incapable man who is surpassed in imagination, desire, goodness and thought by two women, Melissa and Alcina. The Liberazione of the title is undoubtedly a declaration of intent. From this opera we will hear its opening symphony, framed by true sapphires of beauty such as the arias Maria, dolce Maria, Lasciatemi qui solo, Chiome belle, and Chi desia di saper.

And a few years later, from Florence we move on to Venice in the hands of Barbara Strozzi, christened Barbara Valle, daughter of Isabella Garzoni, maid of Giulio Strozzi, who in addition to adopting her, interceded for the great Francesco Cavalli to be her musical instructor, thus getting her into the prestigious Accademia de Gli Incogniti. From her we will hear the madrigal Dolcissimi respiri, or il silencio nocivo, perhaps another message denouncing female submission, the sad and moving Che si puo fare in version, and the joyful and sparkling Amor dormiglione. It serves as a tribute to all the women who throughout history, and even now, have suffered the yoke of the male chauvinism.

Saturday September 24, 7:30pm

gli incogniti

J’aime mieux ce qui me touche...
A stroll to the sound of French classical music

Amandine Beyer, violin and direction

Baldomero Barciela, viola da gamba

Anna Fontana, harpsichord

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J’aime mieux ce qui me touche...

A stroll to the sound of French classical music

François Couperin (1668-1733)

Deuxième Concert Royal (1722)

Jean-Marie Leclair (1697-1764)

Sonata II in E minor (1743)

Jacques Champion de Chambonnières (ca. 1601-1672)

Suite in F of the Deuxième livre (1670)

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747)

Sonata VI in B minor (1713)

J. Ph. Rameau (1683-1764)

5ème concert from Pièces pour clavecin en concert (1741)

About the group

gli incogniti

Founded in 2006 by a group of friends gathered around the violinist Amandine Beyer, the group takes its name from the Accademia degli Incogniti, an active liberal literary circle in 17th century Venice. With its name it also inherits its spirit, a taste for the unknown in all its forms, for experimentation with sonorities, the search for repertoire, the rediscovery of the "classics" and unknown masterpieces.

Gli Incogniti is today a reference point for historically informed interpretation. The group is regularly invited by the most important theatres in the world: Philharmonie de Paris, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Wigmore Hall in London, Philharmonie d'Essen, Operas de Bordeaux, Dijon and Rouen, Oji Hall in Tokyo, Philharmonie de Luxembourg, BOZAR Brussels, Fondation Royaumont, Arsenal de Metz, Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Auditorium du Louvre, La Coursive, etc.... He also participates in major festivals such as the Boston Festival in the USA, the Oude Muziek Utrecht, the Printemps des Arts in Monte Carlo, the MA Festival Brugge, the Bergen International Festival in Norway, the Torroella Festival in Spain, the festivals of Saintes, Montpellier, Sablé, Ile-de-France...

Programme notes

«I like more what moves me than what surprises me» ("J'aime mieux ce qui me touche que ce qui me surprend"), as François Couperin described and contrasted French and Italian music. In this programme, the musicians of Gli Incogniti side with French music and present a variety of little gems dear to their hearts.

However, the influence of Italian music is never less evident, as in the case of Rebel, Leclair or Jacquet de la Guerre, who, fascinated by it, offer a very personal adaptation. Couperin and Rameau, for their part, achieved a kind of classical perfection of this "touchant", i.e. moving, style.

Saturday October 1, 7:30pm

vespres d'arnadí

Arias and symphonies by invisible baroque composers

Xavier Sabata, countertenor 
Dani Espasa, harpsichord and direction
Pere Saragossa, oboe
Farran Sylvan James, solo violin 
Luca Giardini,  Oriol Algueró, Kathleen Leidig, Cecilia Clares, violins
Natan Paruzel, viola 
Oleguer Aymamí, cello 
Mario Lisarde, violone  
Rafael Bonavita, theorbo and baroque guitar

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Arias and symphonies by invisible baroque composers

T. Albinoni, Il nascimento dell’Aurora (Venice c.1710)
“Con cetra più sonora”

G.Bononcini, Astianatte (London 1727)
“Render mi vuole”


A. Lotti, Ascanio (Dresden 1718)


G.A. Ristori, Le fate (Dresden 1736)
“Bellezze adorate”


G.Porta, Farnace (Bologne 1731)
“Non sempre gradina


F. Gasparini, L’Oracolo del fato (Viena 1709)
“Qui ti scrivo o nome amato”


N.Porpora, Deianira, Ercole e Iole (Naples 1711)
“Scuote la chioma d’oro”


F. Mancini, Alessandro il Grande in Sidone (Naples 1706)


G.Giacomelli, Gianguir (Venice 1729)
“Mi par sentir la bella”


D.N.Sarro, Siroe, re di Persia (Naples1726)
“Gelido in ogni vena”

About the soloist

xavier sabata

Catalan countertenor Xavier Sabata trained as an actor at the Institut del Teatre in Barcelona before studying singing at the ESMUC in Barcelona and at the Musikhochschule in Karlsruhe. Sabata's repertoire ranges from Cavalli and Monterverdi, through the heroes of baroque opera seria to contemporary works. He has performed with ensembles such as Les Arts Florissants, Europa Galante, Collegium 1704, the Venice Baroque Orchestra. He has performed in prestigious halls around the world such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Barbican Center and Wigmore Hall in London, Lincoln Center in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington DC and Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow. He was awarded the Premio Ópera Actual in 2013. His extensive discography on major labels such as Virgin Classics/EMI, Decca, Armonía Mundi Iberica and Aparté includes recordings of operas by Händel, Faramondo, Arminio, Ottone and other award-winning works such as Alessandro and Tamerlano.

About the group

vespres d'arnadí

Vespres d'Arnadí is a baroque orchestra created in 2005 by Dani Espasa and Pere Saragossa to offer versions full of emotion, freshness and spontaneity,

using historical instruments and criteria. Its name recalls the concerts that in the 18th century were usually offered at vespers as a dessert at the distinguished dinners of nobles and bourgeois. Pumpkin, sugar and almonds are the ingredients of "arnadí", one of the oldest desserts in Valencia.


With an intense concert activity, the ensemble performs in important concert halls and festivals in Europe such as Peralada, Barcelona, Seville, Santander, Madrid, London, Halle, Prague and Ostrava, among others.


Vespres d'Arnadí has recorded Pièces de Simphonie by Charles Desmazures, Missa en D Major by Josep Mir i Llussà and Anna Maria Strada, la favorita de Händel, all of them on the Musièpoca label. The last of the discs is entitled L'Alessandro amante, featuring the countertenor Xavier Sabata and released on the Aparté label.


In addition to the singers mentioned above, the orchestra collaborates with prestigious soloists, such as the mezzo-sopranos Vivica Genaux, Mary Ellen Nesi and Marta Infante; the sopranos Núria Rial, María Hinojosa, Anna Devin, Sunhae Im and Marie Lys; the altos Hilary Summers and Sonia Prina; and the tenors Emiliano González Toro and Juan Sancho, to name but a few. Vespres d'Arnadí receives grants from the Institut Ramon Llull and the Department of Culture of the Generalitat de Catalunya.

Programme notes

Some synonyms for invisible: imperceptible, hidden, concealed, covered...

inVISIBILI is a double homage:

-first of all, to all those composers whose relevance and presence has been hidden, covered, concealed... by complex processes during the development of music history.

-And then to all those extraordinary musicians whose presence is hidden, covered, concealed, unnoticed by the homogeneous nature of an orchestra.

This recital is a collection of arias that focus on extraordinary composers and operas - rarely performed - and on the extraordinary musicians who accompany me, as most of the arias feature a solo instrument, an obligato.

Sunday, October 9, 8pm

al firdaus ensemble

Memories of the Valencia of Sharq al-Andalus

Music around Al-Rusafi, the best poet of Almohad Valencia

Ali Keeler, violin and solo voice

Youssef El Mezghildi, qanun

Omar Benlamlih, solo voice and percussion

Montserrat B. Vives, cello

Muhammad Domínguez, percussion and chorus
Efrén López, oud

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Memories of the Valencia of Sharq al-Andalus

Music around Al-Rusafi, the best poet of Almohad Valencia

Ayatun-Nur, recitation of the Qur'an

The Call, Aleppo traditional song


Blooms in the medina, traditional Mediterranean song


Back to the one and only, lute taqsim in maqam Rast


Gul Yuzunu, Turkish Sufi song


Celtic Salawat


Uzzal Pesrev, instrumental


Save Valencia!, poem by Ibn al-Abbär (Valencia 1199 – Tunis 1260)


Atainaka bil Faqri, moaxaha by Abu al-Hasan al-Shushtari (Guadix? c.1203 - Egipte 1269)


Andalusí song, poema d’Muḥammad ibn Ġālib al-Rusāfī (València c.1141 - Màlaga 1177)


Al- Madha Moorish, Moorish in Aljamia language


Al Fiyashiyya, traditional Andalusi song


al firdaus ensemble

Al Firdaus Ensemble is an Andalusi and Sufi music ensemble based in the city of Granada, composed of professional musicians of Moroccan, English and Venezuelan origin. The group takes its inspiration from the word Firdaus, which is the Arabic name, of Persian origin, for the most elevated abode in Paradise. As the musicians tune their instruments, they tune their hearts to receive the inspiration of the moment and thus elevate the audience to a state of contemplation. Traditionally this type of music is defined by the Arabic word sama which could be translated as the art of listening. The highly original style of their music is a summary of different musical styles and includes original songs with Celtic and Flamenco influences, as well as arrangements of songs from the rich legacy of Sufi tradition from Arabic, Andalusian and Turkish sources. The songs are mainly in Arabic with lyrics from the poetry of the great Sufi masters of al-Andalus and the Arab world, Ibn Arabi and Al Shushtari. Their repertoire includes adaptations of poems written in Aljamiado, the language written by the Spanish Moors during the 16th century using the Arabic script.

Programme notes

memories of the valencia of sharq al-andalus

The programme brings together different songs and melodies of Andalusí tradition around the poet known as AL-RUSAFI. Abü 'Abd Allah Muhammad Ibn Gálib al-RUSAFI was one of the best poet of Valencia during the Almohad period. Although he wrote his output in Malaga, he is the great nostalgic singer of Valencia. His Elegía Valenciana (Valencian Elegy) is the masterpiece, not only of this author, but of all the poetry that continues the Jaffa style, written by the Arabic-Valencian poets. He was born in Ruzafa, a district of Valencia, at a date that some historians place in the middle of the 12th century, perhaps in 1141. Valencia is in the poet's memory as the distant and esteemed homeland; the lost paradise from which he left as a young man and to which it is impossible to return. This distance inspires him with magnificent verses and turns the home of his ancestors into a magical name, full of literary resonances that had turned it into a landscaped paradise in the poems of Ibn Jafaya or Ibn al-Zaqqaq, poets of whom al-Rusafi is considered a disciple and continuator.

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