Haute Voix, Romantic Harp, Virtuosi, and more

BSR Classical Interludes, February 2024

3 minute read
Stone plays a theorbo, a string instrument with a long neck and strings. Stone is on stage, with a music stand in front
Tempesta di Mare's Richard Stone and his theorbo in performance. (Photo courtesy of Tempesta di Mare.)

Here are four intriguing concerts that run the gamut of musical artistry—seasoned and upcoming styles. You’ll find a Philadelphia premiere, music from the 20th century, and vocal and instrumental works that stretch all the way back to the 1700s.

Curtis Symphony: Berlioz, Ortiz, and Barber
Saturday, January 27, 3pm
Verizon Hall at Kimmel Cultural Campus, 300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

Curtis alum conductor Michael Stern leads the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in a program that opens with the Philadelphia premiere of Latin Grammy-nominated composer Gabriela Ortiz’s Kauyumari (The Blue Deer). Under the baton of first-year student Benoit Gauthier, this work follows the spiritual guide of the Huichol people of Mexico on a peyote-fueled journey through the invisible. The afternoon includes Hector Berlioz’s groundbreaking Symphonie Fantastique and Curtis alum Samuel Barber’s soaring First Symphony in One Movement. The work seems to be everywhere these days; the Delaware Symphony just included this thrilling work in their concert on Friday, January 19.

Relâche: Re-View 2
Wednesday, January 31, 7pm
Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts, 401 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

This contemporary-focused ensemble has long taken an interest in early and experimental cinema. In this program, they’ll perform original scores accompanying three of their favorite short films: Maya Deren’s 1944 exploration of self-identity, At Land (composed by Relâche’s Chuck Holdeman); Max Linder’s 1913 beach comedy Max Takes a Picture (Holdeman again); and Léonce Perret’s 1912 psychodrama The Mystery of the Rocks of Kador, with original score by the eminent French composer and violinist Régis Huby.

Tempesta di Mare: Cruel Amaryllis
Friday, February 2, 7:30pm
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Saturday, February 3, 7:30pm
Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street, Philadelphia

Two tenors and three theorbos! Tenors we know, but the theorbo—not so familiar. Virtuoso player (and Tempesta co-director) Richard Stone calls it “the undisputed giraffe of the baroque orchestra,” played like a lute but with a long neck that “stick[s] up above people standing in the orchestra.” This concert’s instrumentalists are Stone, Kevin Payne, and Paul Morton, with narration by Martin Morell. Find out more about the theorbo in Stone’s online essay, and then hear acclaimed tenors James Reese and Jacob Perry perform duets by Monteverdi, Valentini, d'India, and other Italian trailblazers about love, heartbreak, and debauchery.

Variant Six: Haute Voix
Friday, February 2, 7pm
Hill Physick House, 321 South 4th Street, Philadelphia

Saturday, February 3, 7:30pm
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Sunday, February 4, 3pm
Haverford College, Jaharis Recital Hall, 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford

In this concert, the founding member sopranos of the vocal ensemble Variant 6 will explore the possibilities of two distinct yet complementary soprano voices. The singers are Jessica Beebe and Rebecca Myers, who will be joined by acclaimed Philadelphia artists Leon Schelhase (harpsichord) and Sarah Cunningham (viola da gamba). The program (which sounds ravishing) features works by Purcell, Couperin, and Carissimi centered on themes of love, loss, faith, and philosophy.

Symphony in C: Virtuosi
Sunday, February 4, 4pm
Haddonfield United Methodist Church, 29 Warwick Road, Haddonfield

This concert in their chamber music series features Halvorsen’s rangy virtuosic Passacaglia for Violin and Viola (after Handel) and Mozart’s Divertimento for String Trio, K. 563. This was the first substantial string trio ever written and is described as having each instrument primus inter pares (first among equals). The concert features concertmaster Ria Honda (violin), Isabella Bignasca (viola), and Elena Ariza (cello).

Symphony in C: Romantic Harp
Saturday, February 17, 8pm
Rutgers-Camden Center for the Arts's Gordon Theater, 314 Linden Street, Camden

Under the baton of music director Noam Aviel, in this concert the mid-Atlantic region’s young professionals’ orchestra plays two works by Mendelssohn—his tone poem The Hebrides (Fingal’s Cave) and Symphony No. 1. The concert also features the Concerto in C Minor for Harp and Orchestra by French harpist and composer Henriette Renié (1875-1956), with solo harpist and Curtis student Daniel Benedict.

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