Rather than viewing the original partbooks as a seeming blank canvas for orchestration, it may be more correct to conceive of them as a fresh coloring book; with all of the outlines there but with the decisions of color and shading left blank for interpretation. Does the music director want a traditional performance? One that is wildly inventive? Exceedingly artistic? All are possible, and most have been tried at least once.
The subject of the first phrase is Star, or stella. When playing this phrase the instrumentalist starts softer and gradually grows to the word stella. For an added level of sophistication, one considers the word stress of stel-la, accenting the first syllable. Thus, as one grows to the word stella in the first phrase, one immediately decays once the first syllable is uttered, decrescendoing on the second syllable of that word. In the second phrase the important word is Mater, so one would start the phrase softly on Dei, peak at the “Ma” of Mater and fall away on the word alma. Word by word, phrase by phrase, every bit of text and punctuation is considered until one can hardly distinguish between the voice and the instrument, both in perfect balance.
about the Author
Greg Ingles is the music director of Dark Horse Consort (on the far right, see photo above), the early music ensemble based in San Francisco and dedicated to unearthing the majestic late Renaissance and early Baroque repertoire for brass instruments. Inspired by the bronze horse statues in Venice’s famed St. Mark’s Basilica, the ensemble attempts to recreate the glorious sounds of composers such as Giovanni Gabrieli, Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz. Dark Horse often expands to include vocalists and strings, which when combined recreates the rapturous kaleidoscope that was the sound of the early 17th century instrumental ensemble.