Com­ing up in Philly Music: Bring­ing Renais­sance and Baroque music to the age of COVID-19

3 minute read
Tempesta di Mare announced their virtual offerings and plans for the upcoming season. (Image courtesy of Tempesta di Mare.)
Tempesta di Mare announced their virtual offerings and plans for the upcoming season. (Image courtesy of Tempesta di Mare.)

Will Philadelphia music organizations present any live concerts during the 2020-21 season? Two of our early music organizations, Piffaro and Tempesta di Mare, have come up with slightly different answers to that unpleasant, unwanted question. Piffaro is planning an all-digital season. Tempesta di Mare is holding out the possibility it will present concerts live as well as online.

Early bird gets the stream

Early music is the catch-all term for Renaissance and Baroque music. Piffaro and Tempesta di Mare split the two eras between them, with Piffaro covering the Renaissance and Tempesta di Mare taking Baroque. Both groups play on the kind of instruments used in their period.

Piffaro’s concerts will be available for one week online. Ticket buyers will receive an access code that lets them view the concert as often as they want to during the week. The viewing week will begin with a Friday evening watch party, with the musicians available for a live chat. Season subscribers will receive extras like concert talks, podcasts, and Zoom sessions with musicians.

Tempest di Mare will present eight events. If the concert is presented live, it will also be available online. Subscribers can choose which version they prefer.

Tempesta di Mare isn’t listing any specific dates on their website, just “event weekends” to stay flexible. Venues and exact dates will be decided as the situation develops, and so will the arrangements inside the concert hall if it’s safe to present a live performance.

The show must go on

Both groups are planning attractive seasons. Piffaro will open its season with a program that teams a carillon with its Renaissance instruments. The music will be arrangements of pieces from Der Fluyten Lusthof, a collection compiled by the blind 15th Century carillon and recorder player, Jacob van Eyck. The other events on the schedule include Piffaro’s annual Christmas program and a revival of The World of Don Quixote, a 2011 extravaganza that was one of their most popular shows.

Tempesta di Mare will present two types of programs. Five large-scale concerts will feature the Tempesta di Mare Baroque Orchestra. Three Artist Recitals will showcase individual Tempesta musicians. The Artist Recitals include an intriguing, unusual novelty: a concert for two cellos starring Tempesta cellists Lisa Terry & Eve Miller playing duets. The orchestra events include a concert for woodwinds, a cabaret of English Baroque love songs, and a finale that celebrates the bicentennial of 1721, a year that produced major works like Bach’s Brandenburg concertos. The headliner for that concert will be the fourth Brandenburg—an outpouring of zest and joy created in a time when plagues were common events.

What, When, Where, and Accessibility:

Tempesta di Mare will present its first concert "German and Austrian lute music from the high baroque” on September 26 and 27. Eight-event season passes are $249. A five-concert pick-your-own pass ranges from $143-185. Single tickets are $30 for orchestral concerts and $25 for Artist Recitals. Tickets and information are available online and by phone, (215) 755-8776.

Piffaro will present its first concert on October 30 through November 5. Single tickets cost $15 and subscriptions are $60. Tickets and information are available online and by phone, (215) 235-8469.

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