On the Breath of Angels


During the height of its popularity, from the mid-16th century into the 18th, the cornetto was frequently depicted in art as an instrument of angels. Paintings, sculptures, and engravings abound in which the cornetto takes a prominent place among choirs of angelic musicians, usually paired with at least one voice and with other instruments such as the organ, viol, lute, harp, violin and trombone. For this project Bruce Dickey and Hana Blažíková take the image of angel musicians as a point of departure for an aural journey ranging from 1600 to the present day. From sacred monodies and motets of the early 1600s to opera arias from the end of the century, via a brief diversion to Erik Satie, we arrive at two specially commissioned contemporary works, all the while focussing on the angelic and radiant pairing of the cornetto with the human voice.

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