His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts are planning a recording of vocal and instrumental music by Gioseffo Guami (1542-1611). Guami was an organist and composer at St Mark's, Venice, and at Lucca Cathedral. He was one of the most forward-looking composers of his time, and his instrumental compositions are among the few of the period that include lavish written ornamentation for the virtuosi of St Mark's. The compositions of Guami's that we have so far had the pleasure to perform are every bit as impressive as those of his illustrious contemporary, Giovanni Gabrieli - and we believe that his output deserves to be explored in more detail and to be brought to the attention of a wider audience.
Here, to whet your appetite, is a canzona of Guami's from the Raverii collection (1608), which we recorded on our CD of Canzoni per sonare in 2009:
Guami's sacred vocal music survives in two main collections, published in 1585 and 1608, and most of his instrumental music was published in a collection of 1601. The individual partbooks for these collections are now distributed variously among several different research libraries in Italy, Germany and the UK. Therefore the first task was to reassemble the partbooks for the first time since the seventeenth century, so that the music can be edited and performed. This part of the project was completed over the past few months in partnership with Newcastle University, where HMSC's cornettist Jamie Savan is a Lecturer in Music. Jamie has trained a team of students who are working as research assistants on the project and are currently busily preparing performing editions of the music so that we can begin the exciting process of rehearsing and performing this music for the first time in over 400 years!
To bring the final part of this project to fruition we need to raise funds to cover the costs of making the recording. We need to pay engineering and production costs, session fees for the extra musicians - singers and instrumentalists - who we will invite to join us for some of the larger pieces (cori spezzati in up to 10 parts), venue hire, organ hire transport and tuning, accommodation for musicians and the recording team, the list goes on... We calculate the full cost of the project is fairly close to £10,000, and we have already raised half of this amount through donations and the promise of 'in kind' contributions. But the recording will not happen at all unless we can raise the remaining £5000, which is where we need your help!
Risks and challenges
Recording projects are never risk-free, and can be affected by factors such as illness, power failure, technical problems, severe weather, noise from agricultural machinery, road works, etc... But we have experience on our side, having made many CDs in the past, we are resilient and resourceful, and we will find a way around most problems, even if we have to work 24/7 to get the recording finished!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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