The Duenna, The Fasch Files, concerts by The Crossing, and more

BSR Classical Music Interludes, March 2023, part 2

4 minute read
The four players in all black pose outdoors on stone steps in front of a door, holding shawms and trombones

Along with clocks leaping forward, March winds have blown in great music all the way from the 16th to the 21st centuries. There’s Baroque opera and Renaissance works, music not heard since the 18th century, a Bach passion, and two 21st-century world premieres. And if that’s not enough, it’s Bach in the Subways 2023! Each year from March 21-31, a spontaneous worldwide community of musicians plays to celebrate J. S. Bach’s birthday. You never know who you’ll hear in the Philadelphia subways, but the acoustics should be interesting.

Brandywine Baroque: The Duenna
Friday, March 17, 7:30pm
Sunday, March 19, 3pm (sold out as of this publishing)
Barn at Flintwoods, 205 Center Meeting Road, Greenville

This early music ensemble performs in a bucolic Delaware venue outside Wilmington and closes out its concert season with a baroque opera by Thomas Linley. First performed in 1775, The Duenna tells of a governess who helps her young charge marry the man she loves by outwitting her father. The Brandywine Baroque Orchestra accompanies singers Laura Heimes, Julianne Baird, Bradley King, Tony Boutté, Augustine Mercante, and Andrew Padgett, with Trina Tjersland as the Duenna. The performance is also available to stream online.

Tempesta di Mare: The Fasch Files
Saturday, March 18, 7:30pm
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 South 38th Street, Philadelphia

Sunday, March 19, 4pm
Immanuel Highlands Episcopal Church, 2400 West 17th Street, Wilmington

The present-day revival of Johann Friedrich Fasch (a Bach contemporary and musical visionary) continues, with Tempesta in its vanguard. Since 2008, the Philadelphia ensemble has performed over 25 of his compositions—15 of which were “modern-time world premieres.” This concert adds three more of these to their Fasch performance canon. In June, they’ll travel to Germany and open the International Fasch Festival in Zerbst with this same program. And in recognition of their work, Tempesta will receive the city’s Fasch Prize at the event, the first time it’s been awarded to a non-European ensemble.

Princeton Pro Musica: St. John Passion
Sunday, March 19, 4pm
Princeton University, Richardson Auditorium, 68 Nassau Street, Princeton

Conducted by Ryan James Brandau, the Princeton Pro Musica, an auditioned 100-voice symphonic chorus, will be joined by the Baroque orchestra La Fiocco to present a concert of one of J. S. Bach’s most revered works, The Passion According to St. John. Tenor Steven Caldicott Wilson sings the Evangelist, and soloists include Will Doreza, Jesse Blumberg, Madeline Apple Healey, Robin Bier, and Eric Finbarr Carey. The all-volunteer Pro Musica, now in its fourth decade, sings four major concerts each year.

Piffaro: Music from Austrian Court & Countryside
Friday, March 24, 7:30pm
Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral, 23 South 38th Street, Philadelphia

Saturday, March 25, 7:30pm
Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia

Sunday, March 26, 3pm
Christ Church Christiana Hundred, 505 Buck Road, Wilmington

Streaming online April 1-11

And the early music continues! Philadelphia’s renowned Renaissance Band plays spirited works and dance music ranging from little-known masters of both the sacred and secular to famed composers of the illustrious court of Archduke Ferdinand II. Guest organist Matthew Glandorf joins the ensemble, celebrating the style of organist and improviser Paul Hofhaimer, “First Organist to the Emperor.” The concert will also be available online.

The Crossing
This great choral group finishes the month with two world premieres:

Self-Portraits 1964, Unfinished, by Martin Bresnick
Friday, March 24, 7pm
Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia

A co-presentation with Penn Live Arts, this concert is a world premiere that reunites The Crossing with the saxophone quartet PRISM, with whom they won their first Grammy Award (they now have three). Bresnick—a renowned composer and composition teacher—chose the work’s text from the philosophical observations of Melville, Joyce, Hardy, and Hopkins.

Vespers of the Blessed Earth, by John Luther Adams
Thursday, March 30, 7:30pm
Saturday, April 1, 8pm
Sunday, April 2, 2pm
Kimmel Cultural Campus, Verizon Hall, 300 S. Broad Street, Philadelphia

For this Philadelphia Orchestra concert conducted by Yanick Nézet-Séguin, The Crossing premieres Vespers of the Blessed Earth by John Luther Adams. Commissioned by the orchestra, the work conjures nature by positioning musicians and singers throughout Verizon Hall. Adams wants the audience to “feel as though you’re the center of the music, and that it’s happening all around you.” The concert also includes Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, and on Friday, March 31, it will travel to New York for a performance at Carnegie Hall.

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