SEVEN INVOCATIONS FOR THE CONTEMPLATION OF THINGS CELESTIAL
Experience the music of the spheres with this new CD recording of the Hymns of Orpheus, translated from Greek into Latin in the 15th century, now set to music by the Marini Consort with the singers Catherine King and Mark Tucker.
In Renaissance Florence the magus and philosopher Marsilio Ficino likened himself to Orpheus, as he took up his lyre and sang hymns to the planetary gods – both to alleviate his own melancholy and to heal others. We have followed his descriptions of astrological music, and used the different musical modes attributed to the planets by 15th century music theorists, to compose our own settings of Orphic invocations, which are interspersed with 15th and 16th century music and song in the spirit of each god.
The director of the Globe Theatre, Mark Rylance, reads the words of Ficino himself to introduce each invocation. Accompanied by the delicate but powerful sonorities of voices, lute, viols and lira da braccio, we invite you on a journey through the spheres from the Moon to the highest sphere of Saturn, the planet devoted to divine contemplation. As Ficino tells us:
“These celestial bodies are not to be sought by us outside in some other place; for the heavens in their entirety are within us, in whom the light of life and the origin of heaven dwell.”
Please click on the following links for essays on aspects of the project (these are in PDF format so you will need Acrobat Reader to view them):
The Music of the Spheres
Texts of Orphic Hymns
CATHERINE KING studied at Cambridge and the Guildhall in London. She appears regularly as a soloist in Britain, on the continent and in the USA, performing repertoire from Bach and Handel to Elgar and Tippett, and is well known as a versatile early music specialist. Contemporary music performances include new works with Sing Circle and the Rose Consort, as well as premieres of specially commissioned songs performed on BBC Radio 3 and CD. Recordings include numerous CDs and broadcasts, with lutenist Jacob Heringman, pianist Wayne Marshall, Gothic Voices, Fretwork and the Taverner Consort amongst others.
MARK TUCKER‘s appearances in opera, concert and lieder have been widely acclaimed, and he is now established as one of the foremost tenors of his generation. An outstanding interpreter in the baroque and classical repertoire, he has performed and recorded with many of its leading exponents including John Eliot Gardiner, Nickolaus Harnoncourt and René Jacobs. Highlights include Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at the Salzburg Festival and at St Mark’s in Venice, Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Bruges Festival, L’incoronazione di Poppea in Amsterdam, New York and on tour in Italy, and many of the Mozart tenor roles.
MARK RYLANCE is Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. Trained at RADA under Hugh Cruttwell and at The Chrysalis Theatre School, Balham, with Barbara Bridgmont. He is Artistic Director of Phoebus Cart and Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe. He is also Associate Artist of the RSC and a friend of the Francis Bacon Research Trust. The Citizen’s Theatre (Glasgow) gave him his first job in 1980 and since then he has worked with the RSC, Royal National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Scottish Ballet, Shared Experience, Bush Theatre, Tricycle Theatre, and London Theatre of the Imagination. Mark has also worked with Contact Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Project Theatre (Dublin), Mermaid Theatre, Royal Court, American Repertory Theatre (Boston), Theatre for a New Audience (New York), Pittsburgh Playhouse and Thelma Holt, after whose production of Much Ado About Nothing he received the Olivier Award for Best Actor. In the Globe’s Prologue Season in 1996 he played Proteus in The Two Gentleman of Verona in London and New York. In 1997 Mark directed Triumphs and Mirths for Her Majesty the Queen and played Henry V in the Globe’s opening season. In 1998 he played Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice and Hippolito in Thomas Dekker’s The Honest Whore, adapted by the play’s director Jack Shepherd together with Mark. The 400th Anniversary 1999 Season saw Mark as Master of Play for Julius Caesar and playing Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra. He is currently playing Hamlet in Hamlet. Television: The Grass Arena, Love Lies Bleeding, In Lambeth and Loving. Film: Prospero’s Books by Peter Greenaway, The Institute Benjamenta by the Brothers Quay, Angels and Insects and Hearts of Fire.