Staying home with Tempesta di Mare

2 minute read

Creative folk are unleashing a torrent of virtual arts, flooding the internet with archived or newly “devised” performances from living rooms, empty theaters, and even bathtubs. (Singing always sounds great in your bathroom, right?) But one of the best of these is a performance from Philadelphia’s redoubtable baroque orchestra, Tempesta di Mare.

Brilliant Baroque

This world-class ensemble should just be wrapping up its tour of Germany after performing at the Magdeburg Telemann Festival, held biennially in this 1200-year-old German city in honor of their illustrious son Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767).

International musicians have gathered there for 30 years, but this year marked a milestone: Tempesta was the first non-European group ever invited to the Festival. Of course, it was canceled and the ensemble didn’t get there, but here is the exciting video of the work they planned to play.

This links to an October 19, 2019, pre-tour performance (recorded by Andrew Villalta and shot by RealGoodRecording) in the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. Meant to be archival, the one-camera shoot was filmed straight on from the center of the church. There’s an immediacy when the videographer doesn’t decide your focus, and this view (with its excellent audio) is pretty much what you’d see and hear if you bought a ticket.

Last week, Telemann Festival director Carsten Lange shared this Tempesta performance with his German audiences, noting the ensemble’s “splendid music, full of striking tone colors [and] passion and industry.”

Lively and remarkably constructed, this 13-minute Telemann work is in three movements. Look for the gorgeously played solo oboe of Priscilla Herreid (center of the ensemble), and there are equally thrilling virtuoso passages for natural horn (Todd Williams, up far left). The fiendishly difficult natural horn has no valves; it’s played by changing embouchure or instrument position. The work also has gorgeous and beautifully realized lines for violin (concertmaster Emlyn Ngai) and recorder (Gwyn Roberts).

Put the video up full on the largest screen you have for this almost-live concert. And just in from Tempesta’s managing director, Ulrike Shapiro: “Now for the sweetest news–We’ve been invited to remount our concert at the spring 2022 Magdeburg Festival!”

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