Venetian Christmas Vespers: Deus in Adiutorium & Alleluia, Voices of Music

In this video

The Deus in Adiutorium & Alleluia from the the Venetian Christmas Vespers, performed by the San Francisco Early Music ensemble Voices of Music.
In the baroque period, it was common practice to recite the text of some parts of the Vespers service while improvising over a simple set of of chords; the resulting sonority highlights the text and provides a contrast to the polyphonic sections. This practice was called “falsobordone,” a term which hearkens back to the somewhat similar renaissance practice of “fauxbourdon”–roughly translated, the term means “improvised chorus”. For our Vespers concert, we borrowed a few chords from Luca Marenzio’s “Io piango” to form the harmonies: Marenzio’s work helped forge a new harmonic language for the 17th century, and was imitated by Monteverdi, Grandi, Sances, Barbara Strozzi and many others.
Part of the tradition of this improvisation includes adding a melisma for the concluding Alleluia, and here we have adapted Monteverdi’s ciaccona “Zefiro torna,” adding a third part in invertible counterpoint and offsetting the melodic entrances.
Falsobordone and Alleluia arranged by David Tayler CC Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0

Voices of Music
Hanneke van Proosdij & David Tayler, directors

Laura Heimes, soprano
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
John Taylor Ward, baritone
Carla Moore, baroque violin
William Skeen, viola da gamba
David Tayler, archlute
Hanneke van Proosdij, baroque organ

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