Coming up in Philly Music: Astral Artists unveils mysteries with violins

2 minute read
Katie Hyun will string together a performance this wing with Astral Artists. (Photo by Ryan Brandenberg)
Katie Hyun will string together a performance this wing with Astral Artists. (Photo by Ryan Brandenberg)

Astral’s concerts showcase the promising young musicians chosen by Astral’s rigorous selection process. The performers are the main attraction but Astral frequently enhances the appeal with imaginative programming. Astral’s January 25 concert will place the spotlight on violinist Katie Hyun in a program that pairs modern works with soul mates from the Baroque period.

Stringing a mystery

Hyun will open with selections from David Lang’s 2014 “mystery sonata” and follow Lang’s 21st Century vision with a selection from the Baroque piece that inspired it, Heinrich Biber’s sonatas on the Christian mystery of the Rosary. Later she’ll play Bartok’s Sonata for solo violin, which includes references to Baroque forms like the chiaconne, and follow it with one of the greatest chiaconnes in the Baroque repertory, Arcangello Corelli’s variations on La Folla.

Biber wrote fourteen mystery sonatas, one for each of the events commemorated in the Rosary. Lang’s work takes a more secular view, with sonatas devoted to the mysteries of joy, sorrow, and glory. The Baroque composers both produced virtuoso pieces that are noted for their demands on the violinist. Bartok and Lang followed their example.

Baroque sonatas were normally accompanied by a bass instrument, such as the cello, and a plucked instrument that filled in the chords. The plucked instrument is usually a harpsichord these days, but in this concert it will be a bass lute—the theorbo—played by Julliard faculty member Charles Weaver. The cello part will be played by Astral Laureate Serafim Smigelskiy.

What, When, Where

Astral Artists will present “Katie Hyun, Violin” on Saturday, January 25 at 7:30pm at the Church of the Holy Trinity, 1904 Walnut Street, Philadelphia. Tickets are $22 for general admission, $20 for seniors (62 & over), $5 for students (30 and under with I.D.) and they’re available online, by calling (215) 735-6999, and at the door.

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