14th - 23th August 2014

The courses will start at 4 p.m. on 14th of August in Music School
The final performance will be at 8 p.m. on 23th of August in Croatian National Theatre

The ÆSTAS MUSICA Summer School invites students and young professional musicians and dancers from all over the world to explore historically aware performance practices under the guidance of top international specialists, in the unique Baroque surroundings of Varaždin, Croatia.

King Arthur
Music by Henry Purcell
Libretto by John Dryden

Suite from Naïs
Jean-Philippe Rameau



Born in 1659, Henry Purcell was the finest and most original composer of his day. Unfortunately he was to live a very short life (he died in 1695) but he was able to enjoy flourishing in the period that followed the Restoration of the monarchy after the Puritan Commonwealth period and make full use of the renewed flowering of music. Purcell spent much of his short life in the service of the Chapel Royal as a composer, organist and singer. With considerable gifts as a composer, he wrote extensively for the stage, particularly in a hybrid music-dramatic form of the time, for the church and for popular entertainment, a master of English word-setting and of contemporary compositional techniques for instruments and voices. He wrote music in a number of genres. His opera Dido and Aeneas (1689) is notable for achieving a high degree of dramatic intensity within a narrow framework.
This he followed with the “semi-operas” King Arthur (1691), The Fairy Queen (1692), and The Indian Queen (1695).
He also wrote much incidental music, some 250 songs, 12 fantasias for viol consort, and many anthems and services. He is regarded as the greatest English composer after William Byrd and before the 20th century.



King Arthur, or The British Worthy (Z. 628), is a semi-opera in five acts with music by Henry Purcell and a libretto by John Dryden. It was first performed at the Queen's Theatre, Dorset Garden, London, in late May or early June 1691.
The plot is based on the battles between King Arthur's Britons and the Saxons, rather than the legends of Camelot (although Merlin does make an appearance). It is a Restoration spectacular, including such supernatural characters as Cupid and Venus plus references to the Germanic gods of the Saxons, Woden, Thor, and Freya. The tale centres on Arthur's endeavors to recover his fiancée, the blind Cornish Princess Emmeline, who has been abducted by his arch-enemy, the Saxon King Oswald of Kent.
King Arthur is a "dramatic opera" or semi-opera: the principal characters do not sing, except if they are supernatural, pastoral or – in the case of Comus and the popular Your hay it is mow'd – drunk. Secondary characters sing to them, usually as diegetic entertainment, but in Act 4 and parts of Act 2, as supernatural beckonings. The singing in Act 1 is religious observance by the Saxons, ending with their heroic afterlife in Valhalla. The protagonists are actors, as a great deal of King Arthur consists of spoken text. This was normal practice in 17th century English opera. King Arthur contains some of Purcell's most lyrical music, much of it inspired by French dance rhythms and adventurous (for the day) harmonies.


Jean-Philippe Rameau

25 September 1683 – 12 September 1764) was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era.
He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François Couperin.
Little is known about Rameau's early years, and it was not until the 1720s that he won fame as a major theorist of music with his Treatise on Harmony (1722).
He was almost 50 before he embarked on the operatic career on which his reputation chiefly rests. His debut, Hippolyte et Aricie (1733), caused a great stir and was fiercely attacked for its revolutionary use of harmony by the supporters of Lully's style of music. Nevertheless, Rameau's pre-eminence in the field of French opera was soon acknowledged, and he was later attacked as an "establishment" composer by those who favoured Italian opera during the controversy known as the Querelle des Bouffons in the 1750s. Rameau's music had gone out of fashion by the end of the 18th century, and it was not until the 20th that serious efforts were made to revive it. Today, he enjoys renewed appreciation with performances and recordings of his music ever more frequent.



Naïs is an opera by Jean-Philippe Rameau first performed on 22 April 1749 at the Opéra in Paris. It takes the form of a pastorale héroïque in three acts and a prologue. The librettist was Louis de Cahusac, in the fourth collaboration between him and Rameau. The work bears the subtitle Opéra pour La Paix, which refers to the fact that Rameau composed the opera on the occasion of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, at the conclusion of the War of the Austrian Succession. Its original title was Le triomphe de la paix, but criticism of the terms of the treaty led to a change in the title.
C. M. Girdlestone has listed instrumental music that Rameau borrowed from his own Les Fêtes de Polymnie and Les Paladins for Naïs, and in turn the music that Rameau took from Naïs for Hippolyte et Aricie. Graham Sadler has discussed various facets of Rameau's orchestration for Naïs.

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