Music from 16th-century France and Italy to the Harlem Renaissance

BSR Classical Interludes, March 15-17, 2024

3 minute read
Four players dressed down in mostly all black. Two hold a viola, a cello, and two hold violins
The Dalí Quartet was recently named Chamber Music America’s Ensemble of the Year. (Photo courtesy of Dalí Quartet.)

No matter where you are or where you want to go, you have a wealth of musical choices this weekend. Whether you pick works from 16th-century France and Italy, the Italian baroque, the Harlem Renaissance, Latin America, or music just composed this year, you’ll find virtuosos in every corner of our region this month, with Sunday being an especially busy musical day! Here are a few performances worth your notice.

Piffaro: The French (Italian) Connection
Friday, March 15, 7:30pm
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 South 38th Street, Philadelphia

Saturday, March 16, 7:30pm
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Sunday, March 17, 3pm
Christ Church Christiana Hundred, 505 Buck Road, Wilmington

Returning from Tucson, Arizona, Philadelphia’s Renaissance wind band now brings their latest program back home, as tenor James Reese and guest instrumentalists Mark Rimple, Sian Ricketts, and Héloïse Degrugillier join Piffaro for music from the turn of the 16th century. It was a time when King Charles VIII of France and the lords of the great Italian city-states vied for military and cultural dominance, and the concert features courtly dances, military music, and a beautiful elegy. A video will also be available to stream from March 29 to April 11, 2024.

Artcinia: The Dalí Quartet
Sunday, March 17, 2pm
First Presbyterian Church, 35 West Chelten Avenue, Philadelphia

The Dalí Quartet has just been named Chamber Music America’s Ensemble of the Year, and for their afternoon concert in Germantown, they are joined by Grammy-nominated pianist Mark Livshits. The Quartet’s members—Ari Isaacman-Beck and Carlos Rubio (violins), Adriana Linares (viola), and Jesus Morales (cello)—are noted for bringing Latin American repertoire to the fore. Here, they’ll feature Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga’s String Quartet No. 1, Silvestre Revueltas’s String Quartet No. 2, and Schumann’s beloved Piano Quintet Op. 44.

Opera Philadelphia: To Sit and Dream
Sunday, March 17, 3pm
Tindley Temple United Methodist Church, 750-62 South Broad Street, Philadelphia

This free (or pay-what-you-decide) concert brings together the Opera Philadelphia Chorus, the Wharton-Wesley Faith Ensemble, and Philadelphia soprano Karen Slack in a concert of music by Black composers centered on the poetry of Harlem Renaissance icon Langston Hughes. Conducted by Opera Philadelphia’s Elizabeth Braden and Theodore Thomas Jr. (director of the Wharton-Wesley Faith Ensemble and Minister of Music at Tindley Temple), the fascinating concert repertoire includes works by Roland Carter, Christopher H. Harris, Undine Smith Moore, Rosephanye Powell, Florence Price, Michael Reid, André J. Thomas, and Nolan J. Williams Jr.

The Crossing: You Are Who I Love
Sunday, March 17, 5pm
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Joined by NYC’s Sandbox Percussion quartet, this Grammy-winning choral ensemble continues its hometown season with the world premiere of Harold Meltzer’s You Are Who I Love. Based on poetry by NEA Arts Fellow Aracelis Girmay, the work (commissioned by The Crossing) explores the world of undocumented immigrants via their everyday lives. Also on the program are two movements from Babylon by Sarah Rimkus and two works by Ēriks Ešenvalds, including the beautiful Earth Teach Me Quiet, cited by the New York Times as one of 2020’s best classical tracks.

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