Vivaldi, the Emperor and Coffee

The link between Vivaldi, coffee and Emperor Charles VI is maybe a tenuous one but the 3 are intertwined through Venetian culture and history. Venice in the 16th Century was truly a hub of commerce and culture placed impeccably on the trade route to the east and Africa. It was here that all the fabulous gifts of the Orient from Hash to coffee to syphilis came into Europe and tragically also the Black Plague. Imagine a world filled by one of the worlds first coffee houses or ‘Cafes’ and the music of Vivaldi in his prime with the arrival into Venice of the most powerful ruler In Europe…read on

 

 

At the height of his career, Vivaldi received commissions from European nobility and royalty. The serenata (cantata) Gloria e Imeneo (RV 687) was commissioned in 1725 by the French ambassador to Venice in celebration of the marriage of Louis XV. The following year, another serenataLa Sena festeggiante (RV 694), was written for and premiered at the French embassy as well, celebrating the birth of the French royal princesses, Henriette and Louise Élisabeth. Vivaldi’s Opus 9, La cetra, was dedicated to Emperor Charles VI. In 1728, Vivaldi met the emperor while the emperor was visiting Trieste to oversee the construction of a new port. Charles admired the music of the Red Priest so much that he is said to have spoken more with the composer during their meetings which lasted for 2 weeks than he spoke to his ministers in over two years. He gave Vivaldi the title of knight, a gold medal and an invitation to Vienna. Vivaldi gave Charles a manuscript copy of La cetra, a set of concerti almost completely different from the set of the same title published as Opus 9. The printing was probably delayed, forcing Vivaldi to gather an improvised collection for the emperor.

This is what the emperor first heard….. No. 1 in C major

Coffee has a long history in Italy. Venice was one of the first European ports to import coffee beans in the 16th century, and in the 19th century, men in bowler hats met in Turin’s coffee shops to plan for the country’s unification.

When it comes to historical Italian coffee, you can not help but talk of Venice. It is in this lagoon city that the tradition of coffee was born, that due to its position and its trade relations with the Arab world, which then spread to the rest of Italy.

The first “botega da caffè in Piazza San Marco existed already at the end of the seventeenth century; and even the master of the Venetian theater, Carlo Goldoni, dedicated one of his works the coffee shop. But the real explosion of the phenomenon took place in 1700, with the emergence of numerous cafes and bars. Among these, one of the best known and oldest is undoubtedly the Florian, even now the symbol of the city.

The Caffè Florian was founded in 1720 and opened under the name “Alla Venezia Trionfante – InVenice Triumphant.” From then on, this elegant building has been characterized by its exclusive products and guests: here, noblemen, politicians, intellectuals and womanizers would meet, protagonists of their own time, such as Carlo Goldoni and Casanova, Vivaldi, Albinoni or, more recently, Gabriele d’Annunzio.

Accompanied by his father, Vivaldi traveled to Vienna and Prague in 1730, where his opera Farnace (RV 711) was presented;it garnered six revivals.Some of his later operas were created in collaboration with two of Italy’s major writers of the time. L’Olimpiade and Catone in Utica were written by Pietro Metastasio, the major representative of the Arcadianmovement and court poet in Vienna. La Griselda was rewritten by the young Carlo Goldoni from an earlier libretto by Apostolo Zeno.

Like many composers of the time, Vivaldi faced financial difficulties in his later years. His compositions were no longer held in such high esteem as they once had been in Venice; changing musical tastes quickly made them outmoded. In response, Vivaldi chose to sell off sizeable numbers of his manuscripts at paltry prices to finance his migration to Vienna. The reasons for Vivaldi’s departure from Venice are unclear, but it seems likely that, after the success of his meeting with Emperor Charles VI, he wished to take up the position of a composer in the imperial court. On his way to Vienna, Vivaldi may have stopped in Graz to see Anna Girò.

Caricature by P. L. Ghezzi, Rome (1723)

It is also likely that Vivaldi went to Vienna to stage operas, especially as he took up residence near the Kärntnertortheater. Shortly after his arrival in Vienna, Charles VI died, which left the composer without any royal protection or a steady source of income. Soon afterwards, Vivaldi became impoverished and died during the night of 27/28 July 1741, aged 63, of “internal infection“, in a house owned by the widow of a Viennese saddlemaker. On 28 July, Vivaldi was buried in a simple grave in a burial ground that was owned by the public hospital fund. His funeral took place at St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Contrary to popular legend, the young Joseph Haydn had nothing to do with his burial, since no music was performed on that occasion. The cost of his funeral with a ‘Kleingeläut’ was 19 Gulden 45 Kreuzer which was rather expensive for the lowest class of peal of bells.

Vivaldis music went into obscurity which was only lifted in the 20th century with the discovery of manuscripts in 1903 and 1937

Ladytron; a Roxy Music tale and Babylon Berlin

I have been on the Roxy Music trail for a few days now since making this playlist. No hits on this list just extremely enticing and perplexing tracks from one of my favourite bands. Almost everything from the majestic Roxy Music 1, For your pleasure I found the title track to be the most perplexing and least obvious. I love Serenade from Stranded and most of if not all of Siren…remember; no hits

Now I find out that Bryan Ferry has contributed 13 songs to the new blockbuster German period drama ‘Babylon Berlin’ on Netflix. Just tonight on episode 8 I heard ‘Bitters End’ from the first Roxy album but treated in an authentic 1920s jazz way.

We are up to episode 9 out of 12 and it is fantastic viewing. lizzi is loving the little historical insights I’m giving her to the time in 1929 Germany and the Weimar Republic

 

 

Magic eyes

I’ve made a mix tape on my spotify. Everyone makes mix tapes of Spotify now, just like the old days with cassettes at parties or in the car or going on camping holidays tripping [like I used to do]

Its called pop/rock and features some of my favorite sleeker pop music. Music from the Church, ELO, the Move, Roxy Music, Eno, Paul Macartney and a host of others . I had the temerity to slip one of my songs off  In your face on there. I know its incredibly forward of me but I wanted to see the correlation of the songs influences and how it sat in there and also how the mixing and mastering stood up against the classics

Magic Eyes is a composite of 3 songs inspired by the German band Digitalism, Paul Macartney and a bit Churchy in its jingly jangle guitars. The song is loosely based round Wicca and I still don’t really know what it is about.  tend to write stream of consciousness

i love it and find it a bit unreal sometimes that I created it

For the full Spotify playlist go here

 

Honey New clip ‘Let me hear your song’

Honey have released their latest film clip off their album ‘Blessed Bee’

Its a composite of lots of band and students I have performed with over the last 10 years which segues really well with the songs sentiments…’let me hear your song’. Everyone has a song in them, be it on drums or guitar or singing. Oh and the shots of me in church are from my teaching days in Mudgee at the Uniting Church studio in 2014/2015. The mountains footage is from the Blue Mountains after escaping from a particularly hard 10 day heatwave we endured living at the shearers quarters in Gulgong

Richards Radio show “The explosion”

Richard runs a weekly internet radio show beaming out of the South Coast of NSW on hookthewave.com.au.…..tune in on your computer and listen on demand and peruse the archives.
Richard Lawson; Ex Lime Spiders drummer, Musician, Producer, Teacher, Festival Promoter and Radio DJ returns to the airwaves after a 3 year hiatus away from the Electronica Show, which he ran on Shoalhaven FM for 2 years in 2010-2011
His extensive knowledge comes from his years of collecting his once vast record collection numbering 3000 vinyl LPs Singles and EPs
He was also runner up in JJJ Rockwizz 1988
Still running out of the South Coast of NSW

This weeks show #15 is on the Divinyls;

Raunchy, sexy and a lot in between…. Richard toured with them and lets say that what happens on tour… you know the rest. have a listen and you may just pick up some stuff…

Honey debut album ‘Blessed Bee’ released

After a bit of tweaking the debut album of Honey ‘Blessed Bee’ is finally out. Released in Nov 2017 it is in the words of radio

‘I am listening to your new work right now Richard…(up to the last track) It is very good I must say!! eclectic sounds and fine songs… would love to play it on air for you (and my listener) ..’

Jon Carter Orange FM 107.5

Available thru Spotify / itunes/ youtube / Applemusic

BLESSED BEE image

 

 

MUDSLING EVENT SUCCESS JAN 9 2016

Mudsling!!!

What a fabulous event and success! For a first time event it was great to see so many people.

The crowd just kept on coming all through the day and they were ready to enter well before kickoff time of 2.00pm. The workshops created a lot of interest with Warwick Hargreaves and Daniel Champagne giving very generously of their time and talent plus playing a few select songs to display their talent and know how. Then the action moved to the front bar with Franke Stoove from Brisbane and Garry Furlong from Kiama delighting the audience with their home spun songs and covers before local musical luminaries Nick Wall and Euripi revved up the energy meter…it was just like the Roth’s Wine Bar of old [oldest continual license in NSW circa 1923] with the standing room only space rollicking along to hearty singing.

A short rest before the big bands kicked off on the main stage with Mudgee based band Honey sending everyone into passion and delight with their delicate sounds and thunder. Look out for the imminent release of their debut album at Easter.

A very special moment was when Out of Abingdon joined Honey on stage for a set  including the beautiful rendition of Blue by Vince Jones sung by Elizabeth Walton and a haunting stirring version of Amazing grace with Tina from Out of Abingdons arced bass. An audience member Craig from Mudgee remarked it was the most moving part of the whole event.

Next Out of Abingdon cut swathes of cool jazz through the hot summer evening and their sassy approach had the place humming. This date is kicking off their ‘Long Hot Summer’ tour and they are ready to swing. Their takes on Kylie and Bjork, where they jazzified the song,s added to their cool and already apparent hip instincts.  In anticipation for the main attraction the crowd was swelling and an audience member from Leura was quite taken by their interpretations of unlikely songs.

Daniel Champagne certainly knows how to fill a room and by now the place was full. The surprise of an artist [Sam Paine] onstage painting him live while he played only added to the drama of the evening.  It definitely was a sight to see and will have people talking about it for a long time to come in this little town. His dexterity and energy were light as a feather and cutting like a knife and the crowd was stunned by his show stopping virtuosity.

Showcasing new material from his American tour this is his second stop, after Woodford, on his short Australian Tour before he heads back stateside. Mudgee was very lucky to snaffle him during his quick stopover. He was like a purring engine  and fully on fire after racking up 250 shows last year alone.

The raffle was huge and festival director Richard Lawson said a quick speech while he got Warwick Hargraves from Out of Abingdon to draw the lucky winning ticket who took off the 2500 dollar prize.

Benji and the Saltwater Sound system are formerly Southerly Change and they closed out the evening. Ben Fowler, the leader, is just back from a year in the Solomon Islands and this was their first show since their sellout show in January at Tomerong Hall on the South Coast of NSW. He rounded up his South Coast cohorts in the Saltwater bus and they headed to Mudgee to be joined on drums and percussion by former Lime Spiders drummer Richard Lawson and his best student Jacob Barnes. They filled the venue with the  rousing sweet sounds of dance reggae. Sometimes it became a frenetic percussive filled African vibe with a swirling wall of rhythm. By now the crowd was well and truly sweaty and dancing up a storm.

The night finished with the crowd joining in with vocal harmonies and the lines between the audience and performer were blurred and everyone became equal…but isn’t that what the best festivals are all about!!!

POSTSCRIPT

Out of Abingdon continue their Long Hot Summer tour at the Illawarra Folk Festival next week for the rest of January before heading back to Europe in Autumn.

Daniel Champagne is also stopping in at Illawarra before finishing his short Australian Tour and heading back to the states.

Ben from Benji and the Saltwater Sound System is boarding a plane to back to the Solomons Islands.

Mudgees own ‘Honey’ are preparing for the imminent release of their debut album at Easter