Concerts

December 30

Baroque String Extravaganza

Including “Winter” from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

Celebrate the season with our “Baroque Big Band” and an evening of all-time favorites including Winter from Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons featuring Ingrid Matthews, the Telemann Viola Concerto with Jason Fisher, and Bach’s A Major Harpsichord Concerto, plus rare delicacies by Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello and Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre.
“… Ingrid Matthews played with virtuosic panache”

— Charles Downey, Washington Post

 

Ingrid Matthews & Rachell Ellen Wong

Violins
Laurel Wells

Violin & ViolA
Jason Fisher

ViolA
Caroline Nicolas

Cello
Kevin Payne
Theorbo
Byron Schenkman

Harpsichord

Program


Johann Sebastian Bach:

Concerto in A Major, BWV 1055, for harpsichord, strings, and continuo

Tomaso Albinoni:

Sonata in G Minor, op. 2, no. 6, for two violins, two violas, and continuo

Georg Philipp Telemann:

Concerto in G Major, TWV 51:G9, for viola, strings, and continuo

Robert de Viseé:

Prelude in A Minor for theorbo

Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre:

Sonata no. 5 in A Minor for violin and continuo

Antonio Vivaldi:

“Winter” Concerto in F Minor, op. 8, no. 4, for violin, strings, and continuo

Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello:

Chaconne in A Major for strings and continuo

“Matthews launched into florid, almost operatic lines with tremendous dash and flair, matched in every measure by Schenkman’s intuitive keyboard playing.”

— Seattle Times

 

Program Notes


There is much joy in the music of the High Baroque and we would like to bring 2018 to a close with as much of that joy as possible. Of course Baroque composers recognized and exploited the fact that any emotional state is intensified by juxtaposition with its opposite and so it is with the music on tonight’s program.
J. S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in A Major is really more of a work of chamber music — a quintet for harpsichord, two violins, viola, and continuo – than a concerto in the more modern sense with one soloist pitted against a large ensemble.

As in many Baroque concertos, two ebullient outer movements are contrasted with a sorrowful aria-like movement in between. Bach’s concertos owe much to the influence of his friend Georg Philipp Telemann and their slightly older Italian contemporaries Tomaso Albinoni and Antonino Vivaldi.

With the music of De Visée and Jacquet de la Guerre we get a glimpse into the French world of Louis XIV.  De Visée was one of the king’s chamber musicians and later guitar teacher to Louis XV. Jacquet de la Guerre was brought to court as a child prodigy and became a favorite of the king’s and one of very few with permission to dedicate works to him. In addition to six violin sonatas she published two books of harpsichord suites, three books of chamber cantatas, and an opera.

Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” — the first four concertos from his op. 8 –are among the most popular works of all of Western Art Music. Vivaldi composed or perhaps borrowed sonnets describing each of the seasons and included the words with the music.

Here is a translation of the sonnet for Winter:

To tremble from cold in the icy snow,
In the harsh breath of a horrible wind;
To run, stamping one’s feet every moment,
Our teeth chattering in the extreme cold.

Before the fire to pass peaceful,
Contented days while the rain outside pours down.
We tread the icy path slowly and cautiously,
for fear of tripping and falling.
Then turn abruptly, slip, crash on the ground and,
rising, hasten on across the ice lest it cracks up.
We feel the chill north winds course through the home
despite the locked and bolted doors…
this is winter, which nonetheless
brings its own delights.

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