Early Music Vancouver  
a concert in cooperation with

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    Edward Lear (1812-1888): “The Forest of Valdoniello - Corsica” - detail

Friday evening, 18 October 2013 at 8:00 pm | Pre-concert chat with host Matthew White at 7:15 pm
Christ Church Cathedral | 690 Burrard Street at Georgia, downtown Vancouver [directions]


“Canti di a Terra”
Music from Corsica, Persia & Mediæval Europe


Kiya Tabassian artistic director, setar & voice,
Ziya Tabassian tombak & percussion, Elin Söderström viola da gamba


Jean-Pierre Marchetti terza, André Dominici bassu,
Jean-Philippe Guissani bassu & contracantu,Maxime Merlandi seconda & guitar

An extraordinary meeting of musical cultures: two ensembles – Constantinople (Montreal) and Barbara Furtuna, the stunning male vocal quartet from Corsica that specializes in the unique, centuries-old tradition of Corsican polyphonic song – present “Canti di a Terra”, a programme that takes audiences on a voyage from the heart of the Mediterranean and the mesmerizing songs of Corsica to ancient Persia and mediæval Europe.

Ticket Prices and Order Information  
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Click here for information on Ticket Prices and Seating Plans.

  Tickets for this performance: $36 (including GST).

NEW! “35 & younger”: Tickets at half price ($18) are now available for concert-goers 35 years of age or younger; this offer also applies to series tickets.

Rush Seats for Students with valid ID on sale for $10, at the door only, from 7:00 pm on the evening of the performance.

This concert is included in our “Bring a Youth for Free” programme.

Tickets for this performance can be ordered on-line via our secure connection. They can also be ordered by phone from the office of Early Music Vancouver: 604 732-1610. Tickets are also available at Sikora’s Classical Records.

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A moresca, Corsican instrumental piece attributed to the 13th Century (arr. Constantinople)
Maria le sette spade, song in praise of the Virgin of Sorrows (Traditional - M. Merlandi)

Suda Sangue (Traditional – M. Merlandi) polyphony for 4 voices

Lamento di Tristan, Italy - 14th  Century (Codex 29987 of British Library)
Lamentu di Ghjuvan Camellu, Corsica
La Rotta della Manfredina, Italy - 14th  Century (Codex 29987)

Tota pulchra es Maria (Traditional) polyphony for 2 voices
Lettera a Mamma / shourafkan, Corsican polyphony, Constantinople

Lamentu di cursichella / Rouz o shab, Corsican/Persian, poem of Rumi (13th Century)  

Anghjulina, Corsican polyphony

A Violetta, Corsican polyphony
Hublot bleu, Kiya Tabassian  
Diu vi Salvi Regina, Corsican polyphony

Malaek / Silenzio profundo, Constantinople/Barbara Furtuna, poem of Hafez (14th Century)

Ad Amore
, Corsican
Folias, based  on Marin Marais’ variations


(Programme subject to changes)

Programme Notes  
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“Canti di a Terra”

Created in Montreal in November 2008, Canti di a Terra brought together Constantinople and the Corsican vocal quartet Barbara Furtuna. It has since travelled the globe with some twenty performances. A fine way, therefore, of celebrating renewed contacts and hybrid forms of inspiration.

This bold alliance has roots in two lands, two vital sources of contrasting geographies. On the one hand, the insular beauty of Corsica, between land, sky and sea, austere and powerful, is embodied in these polyphonic vocals which are in turn melancholic and festive; on the other lies the refinement of the musical and poetic traditions of Persia, which dictated its magical laws to the East. 

The common denominator here is certainly their modal form of expression, but even more it is their contemporary language that the Corsican quartet and Montreal trio wished to see converge. “To avoid the traps of juxtaposition (…), to go elsewhere by listening to and understanding the Other (…), to create a fresco that can be viewed as a unique work” (Kiya Tabassian): such is the goal of these exploratory artists, who share an unquestionable sense of harmony. 

The musical understanding they have developed over the years has here given rise to magnificently accompanied sacred and profane songs, revived lamentes and folias, and new co-creations. Deep and vibrant, the music seems to arise from the bowels of the earth. 

The Musicians  
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Barbara Furtuna

Barbara Furtuna ("crual destiny") is a polyphonic Corsican choir of four men. Even though the group still finds its inspiration in the island's oldest traditions, it is now distinguished by its own creations and offers a music that answers our contemporary longings. The group has been present on the international scene for the last ten years, in Europe, but also North America or Australia. It increases prestigious scenes, solo or with unexpected collaborations –– with the baroque ensemble L'Arpeggiata, with the Early and Persian music ensemble Constantinople. The quartet shows that it can transcend a single register and that traditional music has still the ability to surprise and to move us.


Drawing inspiration from the trailblazing city illuminating East and West, the ensemble Constantinople was founded in 1998. Its musicians, an integral part of Montreal’s music scene, have constantly replenished their sources of inspiration, seasoned migrants that they are. From mediaeval manuscripts, Mediterranean and Eastern oral traditions to improvisational works and New World baroque, they are unafraid to take risks with other experimenters in sound, in the course of 30 projects. As cultural and historical ferrymen of the imagination, Constantinople inhabits the present with a heightened sense of dialogue and harmony.

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