Friday, July 1, 2011

Back from Deutschland

This past spring, I did more than my normal share of crossing the Atlantic pond back and forth and then back again, in too short a time span, with meetings and auditions in Germany, Italy, and Austria. I made some great new friends, enjoyed visiting with some old ones, and got some positive results from the whole effort(more on those when contracts are firmly in hand...)

While I was in D-land, I started studying scores by some wonderful Jewish composers who perished in the Holocaust, in preparation for a program I'm putting together for 2012/13. Looking through these pieces evokes such unspeakable sadness. It's horrible when a life is cut short by human action, be it the life of a talented young artist, a mature composer, or "just" a normal person. The Kaleko/ Garner project, Chanson fuer Morgen--which we premiered in April--addresses this, too.

Now that I'm back, though, it's Vinaccesi time. Is that some kind of rare northern Italian vintage micro-brew? Not one bit, not even a sip.

Besides being devilishly difficult to spell, Benedetto Vinaccesi is the name of an obscure seventeenth century Italian composer, most of whose works didn't survive to the present. He's also the namesake for the Baroque chamber group I'm in, the Vinaccesi Ensemble. We are recording all 8 of his extant solo cantatas later this summer and we'll be performing 6 of them at the end of July in SF. They are quirky, expressive pieces, and well worth investigating.

Shameless plug: the Ensemble has some great players and singers: Jonathan Smucker (tenor), Kindra Scharich (mezzo-soprano), Kirk Eichelberger (bass), Amy Brodo (cello), Sarge Gerbode (archlute), and Jonathan Davis (harpsichord). Check us out at Old First Concerts on July 29! If you mention this blog when you say "hi" afterwards, you'll make me smile.

What I'm reading: I just finished Alyson Noel's fabulous Evermore YA series--a coming of age sextet that deals with transformation and spiritual growth. Noel takes the issues, characters, and voices she first began developing in Faking 19 and hones them to a high level.

What I'm listening to: The Ring, Das Rheingold! The SF Ring was all-around fab. Now it's my turn to learn Das Rheingold from the inside out, as I prepare to sing Freia this fall. Plus a fun jazz CD by a new friend from Berlin, Bettina Pohle.