Friday, March 15, 2013

Vinaccesi Ensemble at the Legion of Honor

It's been an amazing 2013 thus far, with a plethora of fabulous musical events every weekend, so many of them performed by my wonderful colleagues.  So much good music, so little the risk of sounding too   wide-eyed and "gee whiz" about things, the Bay Area is such a wonderful place!

Today's post is a last-minute shameless--or should I say shameful?--plug for this Sunday's concert that my Baroque chamber group, the Vinaccesi Ensemble, will be performing: March 17 at noon at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.  It's part of the La Belle Vie 2013 series at the Legion of Honor, co-produced by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music and accompanies the Legion's exhibit, the Royal Treasures from the Louvre: Louis XIV to Marie Antoinette, which has just been extended to March 31.

For this concert, Vinaccesi Ensemble (me, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, tenor Jonathan Smucker, Hallie Pridham, Baroque cello and gamba, and Susie Fong, harpsichord; our bass Kirk Eichelberger will be on the road and unable to join us) will feature music performed in Paris during the lifetimes of the Sun King and Marie Antoinette, that is, between 1630 and 1790, which will include pieces by Marais, Couperin, Rameau, Handel, de la Barre, Gluck, the young Mozart, and the ever popular Monsieur Anonyme, as well as a melody by the royal Sun King's father, Louis XIII. 

Susie Fong will perform on a newly-completed harpsichord based on a 1707 Nicholas Dumont instrument by renowned Berkeley harpsichord maker John Phillips, who will discuss the instrument during intermission and after the concert.

AND...equally exciting, the Vinaccesi Ensemble's new CD--due to be released on Centaur Records on April 1, no fooling!--has shipped and is available for purchase from the ensemble and at the concert.  Benedetto Vinaccesi: the Solo Cantatas has all 8 extant solo cantatas by the group's inventive and stylish Venetian namesake. (More on this in a future post perhaps?)

As a quick side note, the 28th Jewish Music Festival in Berkeley produced the world premiere of David Garner's Vilna Poems, with texts by renowned Yiddish poet Avrom Sutzkever, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising.  Garner's compositions are always moving and ever-lyrical, and this song cycle--beautifully performed by Lisa Delan, soprano, Kristin Pankonin, piano, David Krakauer, clarinet, and Matt Haimowitz, cello--is no exception.  You can hear Garner's radio interview with Sarah Cahill on KALW in which he talks about about this and others of his pieces (including the song cycle of his I'll be premiering in April, "Phoenix"--but more about that on a future post).  The second half of the program centered on a breathtaking performance of Messiaen's  ethereal--and timeless--Quartet for the End of Time, by Krakauer, Haimowitz, Kay Stern and Kathleen Tagg.

As a second quick side note, I have several more belated and overdue topics for my always-occasional and ever-delinquent blog.  Perhaps the month of March will be a good one for slightly more timely posting, or at least catching up?  Time will tell... but as we're enjoying an early, lovely spring here in Berkeley, hope--at least in this blogger's heart--springs eternal.

And as a third and final side note, March 14 was my birthday (as well as that of my niece and my stepsister--three Pi day birthdays shared with Albert Einstein in one fabulous family ;)) and I wanted to thank all my  wonderful friends who wished me a happy birthday today!

The regular disclaimer: I'm talking about friends and acquaintances in this post...

What I'm listening to: Strauss, Wolf, Garner, Geist, Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Lomon, Ruehr, Golijov, Gabriela Lena Frank, and much, much more. This is a busy month!
What I'm working on: all of the above.
What I'm reading: Martin Walker's Black Diamond (the third in his excellent Inspector Bruno series); Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realm series, and more....
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