Monday, February 20, 2017

Early Music Festival Week 4

The final week of the Cincinnati Early Music Festival is already upon us – February always flies by, doesn’t it? We have three events remaining, and they make for an exciting finale.

Sunday, Feb 26, 11am. Once again the Knox Choir at Knox Presbyterian in Hyde Park dips into the infinite works of Heinrich Schütz. Along with full instrumental ensemble, they will perform some of his Concertato Motets from 1648 and 1650. This performance is part of a Presbyterian church service, to which all are welcome.

Sunday, Feb 26, 7:30. Tonight is the exciting return of Vicars Choral, a vocal ensemble that has delighted audiences for the last two years with music of the Renaissance. This year represents a departure for them, in two ways. First, they are moving into the Baroque, with a concert of music by Heinrich Schütz, the great master of German music before JS Bach, music from his Musikalische Exequien from 1636. Second, the Vicars will be joining forces with Collegium Vocale. This is a new ensemble born of the CCM Early Music Lab. Students from undergraduate through the uppermost degrees are exploring the treasures of early vocal music. The combined groups should be worthy of their subject. This concert is free and in Hyde Park – don’t miss it.

Tuesday, Feb 28, 12noon. This final concert of the Festival is particularly exciting because it is, in some ways, another debut! Elizabeth Motter, well-known concert harpist, decided a few years ago to add Early Music to her skill set. She was the first ever recipient of the Catacoustic Early Music Development Grant, which kick-started her training in Baroque triple harp (which is remarkably different from the modern harp.) Since then she has performed numerous times with Catacoustic and other ensembles both in the US and abroad. She has become an invaluable addition to the local early music scene. And today is the first time she has presented her own recital. Join us at one last Music Live at Lunch at Christ Church downtown for 17th century Italian music, including soprano Danielle Adams and gambist WeiShuan Yu, and, of course, one of the only Baroque triple harp specialists in the US today, our own Elizabeth Motter.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Early Music Festival Week 3

We have five events this week, and it’s an interesting line-up

Friday Feb 17, 8:00, at St John United Church of Christ in Bellevue, KY, as part of their February music series “Music on the Avenue,” a duo of Baroque guitars. Rod Stucky, professor of guitar and lute at UC-CCM, and lutenist/guitarist/recording artist Chris Wilke will explore the music of this sometimes-overlooked instrument. Until the 18th century, the lute was considered the king of instruments, but during the final century of the Baroque era the guitar started making inroads in popularity among both performers and composers. Rod and Chris will take us on a tour of this crucial century for the guitar.  Free.

Saturday Feb 18, 10am. This morning is your chance to participate in the most elemental music of all. Come and Sing! means everyone, regardless of experience, is welcome to give early music a try. Cambridge-trained choral conductor Matthew Swanson will be ringmaster as we raise our voices in madrigals, motets, rounds, chants, and other music that our ancestors knew and loved. The atmosphere is warm and supportive, and last year’s group had a terrific time, as I can personally testify. Don’t be shy – come and have fun on a Saturday morning!  Free, of course, and in the sun-drenched chapel at Church of the Redeemer in Hyde Park.

Saturday, Feb 18, 4:00. Returning from last year, when it played to a packed house at Christ Church Cathedral downtown, Bach CantataFest is exactly what the name suggests. Five cantatas by Bach, (numbers 86, 95, 106, 131, 196, for those of you keeping score) sung by five choirs from around the city, including the Cincinnati Boychoir, the Walnut Hills High School Chamber Choir, the Edgecliff Vocal Ensemble from Xavier U, the Christ Church Cathedral Choir, and the hosting ensemble Collegium Cincinnati. If you love Bach, or if you love the high Baroque, or if you just love choral singing, you won’t want to miss this. Tickets $10.

Sunday Feb 19, 3:00. Catacoustic Consort is the Early Music Festival’s
hosting organization. Their annual concert is always a highlight of the Festival, but never more than this year. To our delight, we will be presenting the most renowned Baroque cellist in the world, Jaap ter Linden. He will perform music of Telemann, Bach, Geminiani, and others. Cancel your other plans – you may never again get a chance to hear this music played at this level. Tickets $25, $10 student.

Tuesday Feb 21, 12noon. Today’s lunchtime concert at Christ Church Cathedral downtown will feature the Cincinnati Recorder Consort. Eight musicians, most professional or semi-professional, offer up the entire recorder family, including giant bass instruments that stand on the floor and tiny sopraninos unplayable by all but the slimmest fingers. They’ll be playing music from the Renaissance (the divine William Byrd!) and the Baroque (the awesome Orlando Gibbons!).  Free.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Early Music Festival 2017 Week 2

Week 2 of the Festival is typically busy, and this year is no exception, with SIX events. Three of these are debut performances of new ensembles.

Friday, Feb 10, at 7:30 is the inaugural performance of Schola Cincinnati, a new professional vocal ensemble dedicated to music of the Renaissance. Founder Jason Harris, a Grammy winner formerly of Oberlin, is a man with a mission: to give the city an ensemble that ranks with the best-known groups in the US. His hand-picked singers will debut with music composed around the poetry of the Song of Solomon. Lassus, Palestrina, Victoria, and others all mined this most secular book of the Bible for lyrics literal and allegorical, romantic and sacred. The beautiful acoustics of St Peter in Chains downtown will add to the experience. Come help break a champagne bottle across the bow of this ambitious project. Tickets $15, $5 students.

Saturday, Feb 11, at 3:00 will see another new group to the Festival. The Caladrian Ensemble, newly formed this year, features instrumental chamber music from the late Baroque era. This concert will present Jennifer Roig-Francoli on Baroque violin, with music by Bach, Haydn, Rust, and others, at Old St. Mary’s in Over-the-Rhine. Tickets $10, $7 seniors.

Sunday, Feb 12, 2:00. The Cincinnati Art Museum in Eden Park presents an occasional concert series called MUSE in its Great Hall. Today will feature Schola Cincinnati, in an abbreviated repeat performance of their debut on Fri Feb 10.

Sunday, Feb 12, 5:00. Every month the Cincinnati Bach Ensemble prepares entire cantatas and other works by Bach, his contemporaries, and his predecessors, to be sung during Evensong. Every month! This month it’s music by Bach and Handel, and includes as soloist CSO flautist Randy Bowman. Part of an Episcopal evensong service, to which all are welcome. In Terrace Park.

Sunday, Feb 12, 8:00. It’s that time of year:  Classical Revolution!  The second Sunday of every month classical music comes where people live, at the Northside Tavern in Northside. And every February the music gets old – really old. A potpourri of ensembles and musical eras will grace the backroom stage. Past years have included hurdy-gurdy and Viking songs, Elizabethan tavern songs, lutes, flutes, and surprises galore. Come and have an ale of a good time.

Tuesday, Feb 14, 12:10. One more brand new group will debut this action-packed week. Fleurs de Lys focuses on French music as performed by strings, winds, and voice. Today’s concert will include music of Couperin, Moulinié, and others. As usual, bring your lunch or purchase one at Christ Church downtown for $5.