Musical folly and the pleadings of the faithful | Music | DW | 07.04.2021
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Festival Concerts

Musical folly and the pleadings of the faithful

In this edition of Concert Hour, we go singing and dancing in Italy and visit Prague, where church choirs venerate persecuted women of yore with their Gregorian chants.

Listen to audio 54:59

Concert Hour: Musical folly and sounds of faith, part one

Your ticket to the German classical music festival scene: Concert Hour has the picks of the season — two hours of music updated regularly. Along with host Rick Fulker, the musicians themselves are on hand to give their insights into the events and the music. 


Listen to audio 54:59

Concert Hour: Musical folly and sounds of faith, part two

Musical folly

Folly, foolishness, insanity and madness are synonyms for "folia," a form of music that in centuries past, was literally a craze.  

This program by Dorothee Oberlinger, one of Germany's most renowned recorder players, is called "Baroque Revelries."  

Apart from performing, Oberlinger directs two music festivals, is an instructor at the Mozarteum University in Austria and was named Instrumentalist of the Year at the Opus Classic Awards. As a violinist and countertenor, Dmitry Sinkovsky is doubly talented and also has an ensemble of his own.  

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 The composer Andrea Falconieri, who lived in Napleswas one of the first to popularize the dance rhythms of the folia around the year 1650. From Naples, the folia spread to Rome and Venice, and on to central Europe. This program takes us along on that journey. 

A young organist and composer in Cremona, Italy by the name of Tarquinio Merula used the crazy obsessive rhythm of the folia in songs like "Folle é ben che si crede," beginning with the words: "Anyone who thinks that I can be kept away from my sweetheart by tender glances or by slander is crazy."   

 In the cantata "Mi palpita il cor," composer George Frideric Handel tells a story. A shepherd's heart races in passion for a shepherdess. Overcome by feeling, he's angry with Amor, the god of love, because his feelings are not reciprocated and demands that Amor strike the shepherdess with an arrow from his quiver too. In the end, hope is restored.   


Andrea Falconieri  

Folias for recorder, violin and continuo   


Tarquinio Merula  

Folle è ben che si crede  


Arcangelo Corelli  

Sonata in F Major, op. 5, No. 10   


George Frideric Handel  

Mi palpita il cor: cantata HWV 132c  


Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach  

Folia for solo harpsichord  


Performed by:  

Dorothee Oberlinger, recorder  

Dmitry Sinkovsky, violin  

Marco Testori, cello 

Florian Birsak, harpsichord 

Recorded by Deutschlandfunk in the Basilica in Knechtsteden on September 19, 2020  


Women who suffered for their faith 

 Venerating women who were tortured and killed in the wake of persecution is a tradition at a monastery in Prague. In the second Concert Hour, we listen to Gregorian chants from St. George's Benedictine Monastery in Prague, where Christian saints have always been reveredthe Virgin Mary and fellow saints Catherine, Barbara and Margaret. The program is titled Flos inter spinas (Blossoms between thorns), that image symbolizing women of faith in the 3rd century, a time when Christians were persecuted.   

Tiburtina's director, Barbora Kabatkova, has her reasons for focusing on Gregorian chant and multivoiced medieval music, as she told DW: "I didn't like the recordings I'd heard. I missed passion in them. I love the freedom of medieval music, because although we know a lot about it, there are still some blind spots. So, the only thing you can do is to be free and improvise a bit. That's really what I love." 

St. George's Benedictine Monastery in Prague, where the Ensemble Tiburtina is based, was once an important center of the Christian community. Music was collected there to be performed on the feast days of the saints." Many of the pieces on the program were probably composed there as well, explained Barbora Kabátková, as she couldn't find them in other European manuscripts 


Gregorian Chant from the Tiburtina in Prague 

  • Responsory Filiae Iherusalem    

  • Motet Ave, beatissima civitas – Ave, Maria – Ave, maris stella  


Music for St. Catherine: 

  • Invitatory Adoretur virginum rex   

  • Lesson of Sancta Catherina     


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Music for St. Catherine: 

  • Motet Salve, virgo, Katherina – Sicut solis radium – Hec dies  

  • Hymn Ave, gemma claritatis   


Music for St. Barbara:  

  • Lesson of Sancta Barbara  

  • Responsory Piscinam lavacri   

  • Motet Ave, virgo regia – Ave, plena gracie – Fiat   

  • Antiphony Super Magnificat Dulci voce resonet – Canticum BMV  

  • Harp solo    


Music for St. Margaret:   

  • Responsorium Sancta Margareta   

  • Antiphony Sanctum nomen domini   

  • Moteto Ave, virgo – Ave, gloriosa – Domino     


Performed by: 

Tiburtina Ensemble   

Barbora Kabatkova, conductor 

Recorded by Radio Deutschlandfunk, Cologne (DLF) in the Basilica in Knechtsteden on September 24, 2020 

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