A String of Pearls: Music for Cornetts and Sackbuts Linking South and North Europe


Friday 23 August at 7pm


Josué Meléndez Peláez, artistic  director, cornett

Rodrigo Calveyra, cornett

Catherine Motuz, trombone

Simen van Mechelen, trombone

Wim Becu, bass trombone

Maria Morozova–Meléndez, organ




To celebrate the inspiring Baltic Way, which unified three European countries, we have prepared a program with pieces from important musical centres in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries.


Orlando de Lassus was a Franco-Flemish composer working at the Frau Munster in Munich. The musical life of Europe at that time was led mostly by Franco-Flemish composers. Lassus and Adrian Willaert (chapel master at St. Mark’s basilica in Venice) influenced Italian musicians to compose polychoral music, a style that would later elevate the name of the Venetian Republic for its musical splendour. This is the style of Tu es Petrus by Giovanni Perluigi da Palestrina, a singer and composer active in the Vatican and in Rome, already renowned as a canonical composer of Italian polyphony in his lifetime. His music was in demand all over the globe: Mexico’s Cathedral, for instance, ordered a book of Palestrina’s motets to be use during the mass.


Giovanni Battista Buonamente was a violinist active in courts all over Europe including Mantova, Vienna and Prague before he settled at the Basílica of Assisi, Italy. In this basilica, four original cornetts have survived and have inspired the cornetts you are listening to. Buonamente and Ottavio Bargnani might have met at the Court of Vincenzo Gonzaga, in Mantua, the place where Claudio Monteverdi composed and performed the Opera L’Orfeo (1607). Bargnani’s canzona uses the motive of a very popular song known as La Monica, a beautiful tune that told many different stories in different languages: In Italy, was about a young woman who did not want to be sent to the nunnery, while a Latin version of the tune describes the three kings coming to see Jesus’ birth, the French version gives advice about love to a young lady and in Germany it was used as a protestant song.


Claudio Merulo, Giovanni Maria Trabaci and Girolamo Frescobaldi were famous organists in their times. Merulo’s small private organ, an instrument of smaller dimensions but very similar to this organ at the St. Mary of the Annunciation in Kretinga, is still preserved at the music conservatory of Parma, Italy. Trabaci was a Nepolitanean organist experimenting with new ways of composing chromatic music, and may even have influence the greatest organist of all in those times, the Roman Girolamo Frescobaldi. The Toccata per la elevatione (for the elevation) is a piece intended to accompany the Eucharist, the most mystical moment of the mass. We hope that the Ricercar performed after the Elevation Toccata will prolong that mystical moment.


Schütz, Schein and Pezel are all representatives of the Italian new compositional manners that began in Florence and migrated north the Alps during the 17th century. Heinrich Schütz, regarded as the Monteverdi of the North, went to study with Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice and was a great promoter of this new Italian musical still in Germany.


The Fantasia by Pieter Cornet brings us back to Belgium, but about a century later. During the 16th and 17th centuries, England was very much linked to the continent: British musicians were active in the courts and churches in Belgium, Germany, Denmark, and elsewhere, while important musical families such as the Bassanos and Ferraboscos took up residence in the Royal Chapel. John Bull was an organist and organ builder performing for Queen Elisabeth and King James, who fled England to Belgium, becoming the main organist at the cathedral of Antwerp. Mathew Locke was a composer and organist at the court of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. These particular pieces were originally composed for his Majesty’s sackbuts and cornetts, and reflect the French tastes acquired by the royals as they waited out the Commonwealth on the continent.


No English gentleman’s education was complete without a trip to Italy, so we complete our musical tour with a piece for two choirs by Cesario Gussago, a musician and Vicar in Brescia, Italy. 




Josué Meléndez Peláez





Orlando de Lassus (c.1532–1594)

Ave Regina coelorum  


Claudio Merulo da Correggio (1533–1604)                              

Canzon vigesimaterza a 5  


Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (c.1525–1594)                            

Tu es Petrus    


Giovanni Maria Trabaci (1575–1647)                                          

Toccata Prima a 4 (organ solo)                      

Canzona del Sesto Tono Cromatico  


Giovanni Battista Buonamente (1595–1642)           

Sonata a 6 a due chori          


Ottavio Bargnani (c.1570–c.1627)                       

Canzon 16 a 5 “La Monica”  


Girolamo Frescobaldi                      

Toccata per le levatione                                 

Recercar a 4 con obligo dasuonare la quinta parte


 Heinrich Schütz (1585–1672)

 So fahre ich hin    


Anonimus a 5

Copenhagen wind band collection (sec.XVI)  


Fra. Mat. Vendi (sec.XVI–XVII)

Canzon VII Toni (organ solo)    


Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1554–1612)                  

Canzon a 6  


Johann Herman Schein (1586–1630)                                                   

Padouana et Gagliarda 7 a 5  


Johann Christof Pezel (1639–1694)                       

Intrada and Sarabande        


Pieter Cornet (sec.XVI–XVII)                            

Fantasia 8° Toni (organ solo)    


Mathew Locke (1621–1677)                     

For his Majesty’s sagbutts & cornetts         

Paduan and Courant


John Bull (1562–1628)

Preludium. Dor.  


Cesario Gussago (1579–1612)                                          

Sonata Decima Nona La Leona      


More about I Fedeli: https://ifedeli.org/

 CV Josué Meléndez Peláez