Friday, June 5, 2015

Cecilia Bartoli Lends Vocals To The Film "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit"

From Russia With (No) Love: The villain Viktor Cherevin lets hubris get the better of him.
Movie goers are introduced to the Russian character of Viktor Cherevin (Kenneth Brannagh) first by seeing only the back of his head while a doctor is trying to insert a needle into his arm. Under the scene we hear mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli singing Caccini's "Amarilli mia bella." The tune only returns at the end of the film when the Interior Minister Sorokin (Mikhail Baryshnikov) delivers to Viktor a dose of his own medicine. There may be no significance whatsoever in using the strophic song, but some parallels could be drawn. Inside the office of Mr. Cherevin hangs a painting, Feat of Cavalry Regiment at the battle of Austerlitz in 1805 by Bogdan Willewalde, that depicts "the capture of a French regiment's eagle by the cavalry of the Russian guard at Austerlitz. The French lost only one eagle at the battle of Austerlitz and this happened when the Russian horse Guard caught the 4th Line regiment in the open and charged them." The lead players here - Viktor Cherevin, Napoléon Bonaparte, and Giulio Caccini - were all pretty power-hungry men that suffered defeats in some form or another. Learn more about the movie, the Napoleonic war, biographical information on Caccini, and listen to the full song "Amarilli mia bella" performed by Cecilia Bartoli, after the jump. [Source]

A Hero On The Line: Jack Ryan, played by Chris Pine, must save the day.
"A new version of the saga of CIA analyst, Jack Ryan. It begins when Ryan was attending the London School of Economics; and 9/11 happened. He would then enlist in the Marines and would go to Afghanistan. The chopper he was on would get shot down and he would suffer severe injuries that would require intense rehab. While there, he grabs the attention of a man named Harper, who works for the CIA and would like him to finish his studies and get a job on Wall Street so he can find out of any terrorist plot through their finances. A few years later, Ryan finds anomalies in the accounts of a Russian named Cherevin. Jack thinks he should go to Russia to find out what's going on. Jack was told not to tell anyone who he is and that includes his girl friend Cathy. But she catches Jack in some lies which makes her doubt him. Jack goes to Russia and Cherevin assigns him someone to take care of him. But when they're alone the man tries to kill Jack. So Jack kills him. Obvious Cherevin is hiding something so Jack goes to meet him, and he says he will bring his fiancé along. But Cathy shows up and Jack has to tell her the truth. Harper says Cathy has to go with Jack when she meets Cherevin. Jack doesn't want her to but Cathy says she's going. So the action begins that leads to the climax." [Source]
Feat of Cavalry Regiment at the battle of Austerlitz in 1805 by Bogdan Willewalde
"The Battle of Austerlitz (December 2, 1805/11 Frimaire An XIV FRC), also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of the most important and decisive engagements of the Napoleonic Wars. Widely regarded as the greatest victory achieved by Napoleon, the Grande Armée of France annihilated a larger Russian and Austrian army led by Tsar Alexander I and Holy Roman Emperor Francis II. The battle occurred near the village of Austerlitz in the Austrian Empire (modern-day Slavkov u Brna in the Czech Republic). Because of the near-perfect execution of a calibrated but dangerous plan, the battle is often seen as a tactical masterpiece of the same stature as Cannae, the celebrated triumph by Hannibal some 2,000 years before.[5] Austerlitz brought the War of the Third Coalition to a rapid end, with the Treaty of Pressburg signed by the exhausted Austrians later in the month. After eliminating an entire Austrian army during the Ulm Campaign, French forces managed to capture Vienna in November 1805. The Austrians avoided further conflict until the arrival of the Russians bolstered Allied numbers. Napoleon sent his army north in pursuit of the Allies, but then ordered his forces to retreat so he could feign a grave weakness. Desperate to lure the Allies into battle, Napoleon gave every indication in the days preceding the engagement that the French army was in a pitiful state, even abandoning the dominant Pratzen Heights near Austerlitz. He deployed the French army below the Pratzen Heights and deliberately weakened his right flank, enticing the Allies to launch a major assault there in the hopes of rolling up the whole French line. A forced march from Vienna by Marshal Davout and his III Corps plugged the gap left by Napoleon just in time. Meanwhile, the heavy Allied deployment against the French right weakened their center on the Pratzen Heights, which was viciously attacked by the IV Corps of Marshal Soult. With the Allied center demolished, the French swept through both enemy flanks and sent the Allies fleeing chaotically, capturing thousands of prisoners in the process. The Allied disaster significantly shook the faith of Emperor Francis in the British-led war effort. France and Austria agreed to an armistice immediately and the Treaty of Pressburg followed shortly after, on December 26. Pressburg took Austria out of both the war and the Coalition while reinforcing the earlier treaties of Campo Formio and of Lunéville between the two powers. The treaty confirmed the Austrian loss of lands in Italy and Bavaria to France, and in Germany to Napoleon's German allies. It also imposed an indemnity of 40 million francs on the defeated Habsburgs and allowed the fleeing Russian troops free passage through hostile territories and back to their home soil. Critically, victory at Austerlitz permitted the creation of the Confederation of the Rhine, a collection of German states intended as a buffer zone between France and Central Europe. The Confederation rendered the Holy Roman Empire virtually useless, so the latter collapsed in 1806 after Francis abdicated the imperial throne, keeping Francis I of Austria as his only official title. These achievements, however, did not establish a lasting peace on the continent. Prussian worries about growing French influence in Central Europe sparked the War of the Fourth Coalition in 1806." [Source]


Roman a Roman: Cecilia Bartoli interprets the music of her fellow countryman Giulio Caccini.
"Giulio Romolo Caccini (also Giulio Romano) (8 October 1551 – buried 10 December 1618), was an Italian composer, teacher, singer, instrumentalist and writer of the very late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. He was one of the founders of the genre of opera, and one of the single most influential creators of the new Baroque style. He was also the father of the composer Francesca Caccini. Little is known about his early life, but he was born in Italy, the son of the carpenter Michelangelo Caccini; he was the older brother of the Florentine sculptor Giovanni Caccini. In Rome he studied the lute, the viol and the harp, and began to acquire a reputation as a singer. In the 1560s, Francesco de' Medici, Grand Duke of Florence, was so impressed with his talent that he took the young Caccini to Florence for further study. By 1579, Caccini was singing at the Medici court. He was a tenor, and he was able to accompany himself on the viol or the archlute; he sang at various entertainments, including weddings and affairs of state, and took part in the sumptuous intermedi of the time, the elaborate musical, dramatic, visual spectacles which were one of the precursors of opera. Also during this time he took part in the movement of humanists, writers, musicians and scholars of the ancient world who formed the Florentine Camerata, the group which gathered at the home of Count Giovanni de' Bardi, and which was dedicated to recovering the supposed lost glory of ancient Greek dramatic music. With Caccini's abilities as a singer, instrumentalist, and composer added to the mix of intellects and talents, the Camerata developed the concept of monody—an emotionally affective solo vocal line, accompanied by relatively simple chordal harmony on one or more instruments—which was a revolutionary departure from the polyphonic practice of the late Renaissance. In the last two decades of the 16th century, Caccini continued his activities as a singer, teacher and composer. His influence as a teacher has perhaps been underestimated, since he trained dozens of musicians to sing in the new style, including the castrato Giovanni Gualberto Magli, who sang in the first production of Monteverdi's first opera Orfeo. Caccini made at least one further trip to Rome, in 1592, as the secretary to Count Bardi. According to his own writings, his music and singing met with an enthusiastic response. However, Rome, the home of Palestrina and the Roman School, was musically conservative, and music following Caccini's stylistic lead was relatively rare there until after 1600. Caccini's character seems to have been less than perfectly honorable, as he was frequently motivated by envy and jealousy, not only in his professional life but for personal advancement with the Medici. On one occasion, he informed to the Grand Duke Francesco on two lovers in the Medici household—Eleonora, the wife of Pietro de' Medici, who was having an illicit affair with Bernardino Antinori—and his informing led directly to Eleonora's murder by Pietro. His rivalry with both Emilio de' Cavalieri and Jacopo Peri seems to have been intense: he may have been the one who arranged for Cavalieri to be removed from his post as director of festivities for the wedding of Henry IV of France and Maria de' Medici in 1600 (an event which caused Cavalieri to leave Florence in fury), and he also seems to have rushed his own opera Euridice into print before Peri's opera on the same subject could be published, while simultaneously ordering his group of singers to have nothing to do with Peri's production. After 1605, Caccini was less influential, though he continued to take part in composition and performance of sacred polychoral music. He died in Florence, and is buried in the church of St. Annunziata. The stile recitativo, as the newly created style of monody was called, proved to be popular not only in Florence, but elsewhere in Italy. Florence and Venice were the two most progressive musical centers in Europe at the end of the 16th century, and the combination of musical innovations from each place resulted in the development of what came to be known as the Baroque style. Caccini's achievement was to create a type of direct musical expression, as easily understood as speech, which later developed into the operatic recitative, and which influenced numerous other stylistic and textural elements in Baroque music. Caccini's most influential work was a collection of monodies and songs for solo voice and basso continuo, published in 1602, called Le nuove musiche. Although it is often considered the first published collection of monodies, it was actually preceded by the collection by Domenico Melli. In fact, the collection was Caccini's attempt, evidently successful, to situate himself as the inventor and codifier of monody and basso continuo. Although the collection was officially published in 1602, Caccini is careful to maintain the date 1601 in his dedication of the collection to Signor Lorenzo Salviati. This likely explains why the collection is often dated to 1601. Moreover, he explicitly positions himself as the inventor of the style when describing it in the introduction. He writes: 'Having thus seen, as I say, that such music and musicians offered no pleasure beyond that which pleasant sounds could give – solely to the sense of hearing, since they could not move the mind without the words being understood – it occurred to me to introduce a kind of music in which one could almost speak in tones, employing in it (as I have said elsewhere) a certain noble negligence of song, sometimes passing through several dissonances while still maintaining the bass note (save when I wished to do it the ordinary way and play the inner parts on the instrument to express some effect – these being of little other value).' The introduction to this volume is probably the most clearly written description of the performance of monody, what Caccini called affetto cantando (passionate singing), from the time (a detailed discussion of the affetto cantando performance style can be found in Toft, With Passionate Voice, pp. 227–40). Caccini's preface includes musical examples of ornaments—for example how a specific passage can be ornamented in several different ways, according to the precise emotion that the singer wishes to convey; it also includes effusive praise for the style and amusing disdain for the work of more conservative composers of the period. The introduction is also important in the history of music theory, as it contains the first attempt to describe the figured bass of the basso continuo style of the seconda prattica. Caccini writes: 'Note that I have been accustomed, in all places that have come from my pen, to indicate with numbers over the bass part the thirds and the sixths – major when there is a sharp, minor when a flat – and likewise when sevenths or other dissonances are to be made in the inner voices as an accompaniment. It remains only to say that ties in the bass part are used thusly by me: after the [initial] chord, one should play again only the notes [of the harmony] indicated [and not the bass note again], this being (if I am not mistaken) most fitting to the proper usage of the archlute (and easiest way to manage and play it), granted that this instrument is more suitable for accompanying the voice, especially the tenor voice, than any other.' This passage is often overlooked, as it is brief, located at the very end of the introduction and even indicated by Caccini as a "note," an aside or addendum to the main purpose. It is important to note, however, that the first explanation of this practice is in the context of an essay about vocal expression and intelligibility; in fact, it is largely the aim of textual intelligibility that led to the development of this musical style and the music of the common practice era. Caccini wrote music for three operas—Euridice (1600), Il rapimento di Cefalo (1600, excerpts published in the first Nuove Musiche), and Euridice (1602), though the first two were collaborations with others (mainly Peri for the first Euridice). In addition he wrote the music for one intermedio (Io che dal ciel cader farei la luna) (1589). No music for multiple voices survives, even though the records from Florence indicate he was involved with polychoral music around 1610. He was predominantly a composer of monody and solo song accompanied by a chordal instrument (he himself played harp), and it is in this capacity that he acquired his immense fame. He published two collections of songs and solo madrigals, both titled Le nuove musiche, in 1602 (new style) and 1614 (the latter as Nuove Musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle). Most of the madrigals are through-composed and contain little repetition; some of the songs, however, are strophic. Among the most famous and widely disseminated of these is the madrigal Amarilli, mia bella.'" [Source]

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