Loading...
Music

A weekend of Monteverdi will conclude the Boston Early Music Festival and launch Aston Magna in Great Barrington

Bernardo Strozzi, Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi (c.1630). Oil on canvas. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum.
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

 

Bernardo Strozzi, Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi (c.1630). Oil on canvas. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum.
Bernardo Strozzi, Portrait of Claudio Monteverdi (c.1630). Oil on canvas. Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum.

This spring has been teeming with a dizzying profusion of riches for the lover of early music in the Northeast. In April Carnegie Hall launched “Before Bach,” a month-long festival of Renaissance and Baroque music performed by the the most admired international groups and soloists in the field. Since this was an “on” year for The Boston Early Music Festival, an equally distinguished group of regulars and visitors just now packed about the same amount of musical activity into a week, supplemented by hosts of mostly outstanding comprimarii in its Fringe. This coming weekend BEMF’s western coda, consisting of Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 and his Orfeo, both performed in the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, will overlap with the first weekend of one of the oldest festivals of early music, Aston Magna.

Fittingly, the first Aston Magna concert is devoted to operatic madrigals by Monteverdi, and, happily, it is scheduled early, at 3 pm, so that we can take in both the madrigals and the Vespers in the evening. Aston Magna was founded in 1972 and BEMF in 1980. Both have been pioneers and leaders in the field, and both old hands and newcomers should feel a special frisson at spending a single day with both. This madrigal program will include the elaborate operatic scene, Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, taken from Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, sung by the incomparable Dominique Labelle, with the distinguished tenors Frank Kelley and William Hite.

After this weekend we will have to wait two years for the next celebration of BEMF, but it will inaugurate another splendid Aston Magna season, in which their brilliant core of regular participants will cover the usual broad range of repertoire, beginning with Monteverdi and ending with Schubert, and including ancillary arts, like dance, and, it seems, fashion.

This will be the theme of the second concert, Le Monde de Marais: La Musique et La Danse. While the great viol player and composer, Marin Marais, will preside, there will also be dances by Lully and Louis de La Coste.

The third concert will move to Vienna and the 19th century. The central work will be Schubert’s great Octet for clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, and strings, along with a quintet by Boccherini, and duos from Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. This is an unmissable opportunity to hear the Octet played on period instruments by some of the most outstanding musicians, including Eric Hoeprich, period clarinet, Stephen Hammer, classical oboe, Andrew Schwartz, bassoon, Todd Williams, natural horn, who will join Daniel Stepner and a group of string players.

The final concert will combine a beloved warhorse, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, with a cantata and a concerto by J.S. Bach, and a motet by his father’s cousin, Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703).

The Boston Early Music Festival in the Berkshires

Saturday, June 20, 7 pm
Pre-Concert Talk by Stephen Stubbs and Paul O’Dette, BEMF Musical Directors
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

8pm
Boston Early Music Festival Vocal & Chamber Ensembles
Stephen Stubbs, conductor
with Dark Horse Consort
Claudio Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
.
Sunday, June 21
1:30 pm
Pre-Opera Talk by Paul O’Dette and Stephen Stubbs, BEMF Musical Directors
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
3pm
Claudio Monteverdi’s Orfeo
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center

The Aston Magna Music Festival 2015


June 18-20, 2015
Monteverdi’s Warring Lovers
Program: Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, Lettera amorosa, Tempro la cetra, and other operatic madrigals. Instrumental works by Castello, Marini and Cima.
Artists: Dominique Labelle, soprano; Frank Kelley and William Hite, tenors; Peter Sykes, harpsichord; baroque ensemble
Pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Daniel Stepner one hour ahead of each program.
Thursday, June 18, 2015, 7 pm
Slosberg Auditorium Brandeis University Waltham, MA
Friday, June 19, 2015, 8 pm
Olin Hall Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Saturday, June 20, 2015, 3 pm
Daniel Arts Center Bard College at Simon’s Rock Great Barrington, MA

June 25-27, 2015
Le Monde de Marais: La Musique et La Danse
Program: Marais: Sarabande à l’espagnole; Les Voix Humaines; Sonate à la Maresienne
Dressing and Dancing at the court of Louis XIV: La Toilette, Fêtes et Bals, Dancing Lessons, Rituals and Intricacies. Lully: Dance Interludes, Courantes, Sarabande; Louis de La Coste: Gigue
Artists: Laura Jeppesen, viola da gamba; Catherine Liddell, theorbo; Daniel Stepner, baroque violin; Carly Fox Horton and Olsi Gjeci, dancers; Patricia Forelle, narrator
Pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Daniel Stepner one hour ahead of each program.
Thursday, June 25, 2015, 7 pm
Slosberg Auditorium Brandeis University Waltham, MA
Friday, June 26, 2015, 8 pm
Olin Hall Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Saturday, June 27, 6 pm
Daniel Arts Center Bard College at Simon’s Rock Great Barrington, MA

July 2-4, 2015
Wind Power: Schubert, Boccherini, Mozart
Program: Schubert’s monumental Octet for winds and strings, Boccherini Quintet, and duos from “Magic Flute”
Artists: Eric Hoeprich, period clarinet; Stephen Hammer, classical oboe; Andrew Schwartz, bassoon; Todd Williams, natural horn; Daniel Stepner, baroque violin, and ensemble
Pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Daniel Stepner one hour ahead of each program. Thursday, July 2, 2015, 7 pm
Slosberg Auditorium Brandeis University Waltham, MA
Friday, July 3, 2015, 8 pm
Olin Hall Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Saturday July 4, 2015, 6 pm
Daniel Arts Center Bard College at Simon’s Rock Great Barrington, MA

July 16-18, 2015
Eternal Seasons: Vivaldi & Bach
Program: Vivaldi, The Four Seasons; J.S. Bach Cantata “Wiederstehe doch der Sünde;” J.S. Bach Concerto in D Minor; Johann Christoph Bach, Motet “Ach, daß ich Wassers g’nug hätte”
Artists: Deborah Rentz-Moore, mezzo-soprano; “Seasons” violin soloists Edson Scheid, Danielle Maddon, Julie Leven and Daniel Stepner; baroque ensemble
Pre-concert talk by Artistic Director Daniel Stepner one hour ahead of each program.
Thursday, July 16, 2015, 7 pm
Slosberg Auditorium Brandeis University Waltham, MA
Friday, July 17, 2015, 8 pm
Olin Hall, Bard College Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Saturday, July 18, 2015, 8 pm
Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center Great Barrington, MA

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, Il Museo di Roma a Trastevere, etc. and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

A tip for our readers: How to get the most out of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review for the Arts.
What if I hate reading on computer screens, even tablets?
We get occasional inquiries from readers about whether we plan to launch a print edition of our arts journals. The answer is that we've given it some thought, and we're still thinking about it.
It is not only our older readers who object to reading them online. There are even some millennials who would rather read from paper. One of our readers got the simple idea of using the sites as sophisticated tables of contents. She prints out each article on three-hole paper and files them in a loose-leaf album. I've devoted a lot of time to finding the very best print and pdf facility there is. Just click on one of the icons at the top right of the article and print!
Click here to make your tax-deductible donation to The Arts Press, publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review. Or click on the notice in the sidebar. The Arts Press is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of The Arts Press must be made payable to“Fractured Atlas” only and are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.