A look forward to next week’s Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF)

I have my tickets to the official events. I’ll be seeing a lot
more fringe concerts this year than I have some times, because
I’ll be writing about several events for the American Recorder. In
addition, I expect to hang around the exhibition and buy music and
maybe even instruments.

Advice for beginners

If you’ve never been to BEMF before, the array of opportunities
is probably both dazzling and confusing.

Start out by just getting a pass to the exhibition, which also
gets you into masterclasses and lectures.. While you’re there, you can get concert tickets
for whatever you want to see, and you’ll hear lots of people
playing instruments and giving small concerts. Then look at the
fringe
concerts
, and go to whatever strikes you as interesting.

If you’re going to be doing a lot of running around to concerts
not in the same vicinity, get a day or week pass on the MBTA. The
7-day pass for $15 is a really good deal.

I took it a little easier this time on tickets to the official
concerts than I have some times. I’m sure I’ll end up hearing as
many concerts as I want to. And I passed up some good ones at
11PM, remembering how hard it was to keep my eyes open at a couple
of them last year. I’m sure it will be a good lute concert, but I
doubt that I’d be a good lute concert audience member.

Consider going to the masterclasses for any instrument you’re
interested in. I always go to the recorder one, and I try to get
to Ellen Hargis’ voice one. But in general, they get people who
are known to be good teachers of their instrument, and you can get
a good idea of what it’s like to learn the instrument, even, or
maybe especially when the students aren’t very advanced.

Fringe events

What follows are suggestions for things I know I’d be
interested in. I won’t get to them all, and you won’t get to
everything you’d be interested in either.

Early Music America is sponsoring a Young
Performers Festival
, which will have events every day. It’s
apparently specifically designed to provide more Renaissance music
than the heavily Baroque official concerts. It also will provide
some brass and reeds, which the official concerts pretty much
ignore again this year. And the Saturday concert will do the
polychoral music of the transition between the Renaissance and the
Baroque, which everyone thinks they love, but hardly anyone has
the resources to perform.

Sunday

  • Convivium Musicum will be singing the BU Marsh Chapel service.
    This is always just an hour between 11AM & noon, always broadcast live on
    WBUR, 90.9FM. They will sing the service music which includes pieces by
    Charles Villiers Stanford & John Rutter, a famous shape note tune arr. by
    Alice Parker, a Monteverdi Kyrie, Richard Farrant’s “Call to Remembrance”,
    & two Victoria & Guerrero motets from their current “Armada” concert.
  • 2pm,
    Vox Lucens Renaissance Choir (Jay Lane, director). Nicholas Gombert’s Missa Quam Pulchra Es.
    Spectacular and rarely performed, this work is an opulent tapestry in sound. Based on a motet by Bauldeweyn, the mass weaves six voices together to create complex and beautifully unexpected sonorities. It has been newly edited for this performance from a 16th-century print. Goethe-Institut, 170 Beacon Street, Boston. $15/$12 st, sr, BEMF. 978-897-5372 or jaydlane@comcast.net.

Monday

  • 4pm El Fuego (Teri Kowiak, voice; Dan Meyers, voice,
    recorder & percussion; Zoe Weiss, viola da gamba & Baroque
    violoncello; Salome Sandoval, voice, vihuela & Baroque
    guitar). A Cantar y Bailar! An exploration of the villancicos
    and zacaras in the 16th & 17th centuries from Spain to the New
    World (Mexico and Guatemala). Works by Juan del Encina, Juan de
    Araujo, Fray Francisco de Santiago, and Rafael Antonio
    Castellanos. Beacon Hill Friends House. $10 suggested
    donation. 617-227-9118 or directors@bhfh.org. The is one of the
    ones I’ll be writing about, and a friend assures me that the
    singer is wonderful.
  • 6pm Aldo Abreu and Paul Cienniwa (Aldo Abreu, recorder; Sam
    Ou, violoncello; Paul Cienniwa, harpsichord). Transformation of
    Baroque Music. Baroque Sonatas for recorder and continuo, and a
    repeat performance of Larry Thomas Bell’s Baroque
    Concerto. First Church in Boston. $15. 617-699-0195 or
    aldoabreu@netway.com. Another one I’ll be writing about.
    Aldo’s concerts are consistently well-structured and performed.

Tuesday

  • 12:15pm Travessada (Peter H. Bloom, Eric Haas, David Place,
    and Na’ama Lion, Renaissance flutes). From the 20 & 7 Songs. A
    concert featuring chansons from the Vingt et Sept Chanson
    Musicales, published in 1533 by Pierre Attaingnant, in
    Paris. This publication was the first to indicate part songs to
    be played specifically by a concert of transverse flutes. So, of
    course, it is at the very heart of our repertoire. We’ll play
    songs by Sermisy, Gombert, Passerau, and others. Kings’
    Chapel. $3 suggested donation. 617-459-1648 or
    info@travessada.info. Another one I’ll be writing about. You
    don’t get to hear Renaissance flutes that often.
  • 2pm Rebecca Pechefsky, harpsichord. The Mietke Concerts,
    Part I. Music by Byrd, Bach, Fischer, and Krebs, performed on a
    German single-manual harpsichord by Owen Daly, after Michael
    Mietke, Berlin, 1710. Sponsored by Quill Classics in conjunction
    with Owen Daly Early Keyboard Instruments. Goethe-Institut
    Boston. $15/$10 st, sr, EMA, SEHKS, MHKS, WEKA. 646-263-9122 or
    rpechefsky@gmail.com. Like most of the keybord events on this
    list, this is recommended by my sister, who belongs to most of
    that alphabet soup.

  • 3pm Armonia Nova (Constance Whiteside, director & Medieval harp; Allison Mondel, soprano; Marjorie Bunday, alto). L’art de l’amour: the transforming power of love in the medieval world. Love’s power to transform us—with joy, impetuosity, jealousy, sorrow, spirituality—is beautifully evoked with fantastical imagery, in musical gems from 12th-through 15th-century Europe. Hale Chapel, First Church in Boston. $12/$10 st, sr, EMA. 571-482-9052 or cwharps@ix.netcom.com.
  • 3pm
    NEC Early Music Society (Sarah Moyer, soprano; Timothy Wilfong,
    baritone; Chingwei Lin & Emily O’Brien, recorders; Christopher
    Belluscio, cornetto & natural trumpet; Nickolai Sheikov & Miyuki
    Tsurutani, harpsichord; Benjamin Shute & Sarah Darling, Baroque
    violin; Joy Grimes, Baroque viola; Rebecca Shaw, Baroque
    violoncello; Melissa Schoenack, Baroque bassoon; Peter Ferretti,
    contrabass). Arie Variate. Program will include works by
    Giovanni Gabrieli: Canzon Primi Toni; André Campra: Les Femmes;
    and J. S. Bach: Cantata 51 (“Jauchzet Gott”) and Concerto in F
    for harpsichord, two recorders, and strings, BWV 1057. Pierce
    Hall, New England Conservatory. $10/$5 st, sr,
    EMA. Contrapunctus84@aol.com Another one I’ll be writing
    about. A dynamic group of young performers.
  • 5:15pm Early Music Faculty of University of North Texas
    (Keith Collins, dulcian & Baroque bassoon; Christoph Hammer,
    harpsichord; Jennifer Lane, mezzo-soprano; Paul Leenhouts,
    recorder; Kathryn Montoya, Baroque oboe; Cynthia Roberts,
    Baroque violin; Allen Whear. Baroque violoncello). Capricci di
    virtuosi: Vocal and Instrumental Italian Baroque Music. Works by
    Fontana, Rossi, de Selma, Marini, Cesti, Jacchini, Sammartini,
    Porpora, and Vivaldi. Church of the Covenant. $15/$10 st, sr,
    EMA. amstelox@gmail.com. I’m sure this is an offshoot of the
    EMA Young Performers Festival, but it isn’t listed there, and if
    you have the chance, these are performers you should hear.

Wednesday

  • 2pm Les Bostonades (Gonzalo Ruiz, oboe; Justin Godoy,
    recorder; Sarah Darling, violin & viola; Tatiana Daubek, Emily
    Dahl & Megumi Stohs, violin; Emily Rideout, viola; Rebecca Shaw,
    violoncello; Mai-Lan Broekman, violone; Akiko Sato,
    harpsichord). Concerto Extravaganza. The performance will
    feature four virtuosic concertos: Telemann’s Viola Concerto in G
    major; J. S. Bach’s Harpsichord Concerto in D minor; Vivaldi’s
    Oboe and Violin Concerto in B-flat major; and Vivaldi’s Recorder
    Concerto in G major. First Church in Boston. $20/$10 st, sr,
    BEMF, EMA. 617-304-8843 or bostonades@hotmail.com. If you like
    virtuso baroque, these people will do it well.
  • 3:30pm Judith Conrad, clavichord. Attaingnant 1531: The
    Periwinkle of the Keyboard Players. Music from the seven volumes
    of keyboard transcriptions published in early 1531 by Jacques
    Attaingnant in Paris – the first relatively cheap printed keyboard
    music ever. Triple- and quadruple-fretted clavichords by Andreas
    Hermert (after Woytzig, 1688) and Owen Daly (after Wroclaw,
    ca. 1470). Paulist Center Library. $20 suggested donation to
    benefit the Iraq Family Relief Fund. 508-674-6128 or
    judithconrad@mindspring.com. There aren’t many people who have
    done more clavichord concerts than Judith (my sister).

Thursday

  • 9am–12 noon Schubert and the Piano (Sylvia Berry & Stephen Porter, piano; Clara Rottsolk, soprano).Composer-era instruments tell us a compelling tale, once we listen attentively. Some of Franz Schubert’s best-known and best-loved Lieder and solo piano music will be performed, including the composer’s great, final piano sonata in B flat, D.960. The piano is a 6½-octave 1830s Viennese “Grafendorfer” made by R.J. Regier of Freeport, Maine: it unites tonal and mechanical characteristics drawn from instruments by such builders as Conrad Graf and Ignaz Bösendorfer, among the last to feature an all-wood design.

    9am Concert: Sylvia Berry, pianoforte & Clara Rottsolk, soprano. Beloved solo works and Lieder, including Lachen und Weinen, D.777; Ganymed, D.544; Die Post, D.911:13; Du bist die Ruh, D.776; and Impromptus 2 in E flat and 3 in G flat, D.899.

    10am Symposium: Schubert and the Piano, a Real-World Performer’s Perspective. Panelists: Stephen Porter, Sylvia Berry & Clara Rottsolk; Moderator: Christopher Greenleaf. R.J. Regier will field questions touching on his areas of expertise.

    11am Concert: Stephen Porter, pianoforte. Program to include Ungarische Melodie, D.817; Sonata No. 21 in B flat, D.960; and the Porter transcription of Lied Nacht und Träume, D.827.

  • 9am-12:30pm The Viola da Gamba Society of America. The Gamba
    Gamut. A series of seven mini-programs of music spanning the
    repertoire of the viola da gamba, performed by emerging and
    established artists of the Viola da Gamba Society of America,
    including Phillip Serna, Andre O’Neil, Anne Legene, Entwyned,
    Long and Away, Arcadia Viols, and La Donna Musicale. Cathedral
    Church of St. Paul. FREE, donations welcome. 662-816-9959 or
    susanmarchant19@yahoo.com. These mini-programs are a good way
    to see what people are doing with a given instrument, and of
    course it’s like the New England Weather — if you don’t like it
    now, wait 10 minutes and it will be different.
  • 12 noon New York Continuo Collective (Grant Herreid,
    director; Pat O’Brien & Charles Weaver, musical coaches). Crimes
    and Passion: Love and the Criminal Underworld in Spanish
    17th-century Song. A semi-staged performance of Spanish
    17th-century song, drawing on two entremeses (dramatic
    interludes): La Visita de la Cárcel (the Visit to the Jail), by
    Luis Quiñones de Benavente; and the anonymous la Cárcel de
    Sevilla. The program interweaves popular tunes with courtly
    songs by José Marin, and features reconstructions of jácaras and
    folias, some improvised by the performers. The performance,
    featuring the singers and players of the Continuo Collective on
    Baroque guitars, vihuelas, lutes, and bajon, will include a
    guest appearance by Ensemble Viscera, a leading group in the
    performance of Spanish 17th-century popular song, and jácara in
    particular. Gordon Chapel, Old South Church. Admission by
    donation. 718-636-5706 or 646-239-3522 (during Festival) or
    ContinuoNY@aol.com. I’ve never managed to hear this group, but
    people who do always come away impressed.
  • 12:15pm Renaissonics (John Tyson, recorders & pipe and
    tabor; Laura Gulley, violin; Daniel Rowe, violoncello; Miyuki
    Tsurutani, recorders & harpsichord). Renaissance Chamber
    Music. A program of brilliant Italian and English polyphonic
    chamber music featuring works of Orlando Gibbons, John Baldwyn,
    Vincenzo Ruffo, Salomone Rossi, Tarquinio Merula, and Thomas
    Morley’s phenomenal example of polyrhythmic complexity, Christes
    Crosse. In true Renaissance spirit, the program celebrates the
    performer’s freedom to improvise extensively in a variety of
    styles and forms — chamber music, dance music, and free improvisation. Brown Hall, New England Conservatory. $15. 617-585-1130 or continuingeducation@necmusic.edu.
    This is one I’ll be writing about, and I transcribed some of the music
    for it. Another concert that fills a gap in the official
    festival world-view — polyphony this complicated can’t be done
    with a pickup group that learned to play with a conductor in the
    conservatory.
  • 2pm Fire and Folly (Rachel Begley, recorder & bassoon;
    Abigail Karr, violin; Ezra Selzer, violoncello; Jeffrey
    Grossman, harpsichord). Mixed Marriages. A dynamic program
    bringing together unlikely instrumental forces and national
    styles: brilliantly orchestrated trio sonatas for both recorder
    and violin, and violin and bassoon, by Telemann and Vivaldi;
    tender Scottish folksongs set by the Italian Barsanti; and the
    fusion of French and Italian styles in works by Couperin and
    Handel. Beacon Hill Friends House. $15/$10 st, sr, BEMF, EMA,
    ARS. 631-921-4229 or rachelbegleyrecorder@yahoo.com. I have
    heard Rachel play bassoon, so if you need more reeds than you’re
    getting, this is a good one.
  • 2:30pm Capella Alamire and the Alamire Consort (Peter
    Urquhart, director). The Legacy of Jean Mouton: Chansons à 3, à
    4 and à 5,
    and the Missa Du bon du cueur. Capella Alamire and the
    Alamire Consort perform music by Jean Mouton and Noel
    Bauldeweyn, two 16th-century Franco-Flemish masters of
    polyphony. The mass is performed from manuscript facsimile
    (MunichBS 6) by Capella Alamire (Eric, Johanna, Anna, and Clara
    Swarzentruber, Sophia Urquhart, and Melinda McMahon), with the
    assistance of the Consort (Robert Stibler, cornetto; Melinda
    McMahon, harp & voice; Paul Merrill, sackbut & voice; Emily
    Swarzentruber Urquhart, viol). Lindsey Chapel, Emmanuel
    Church. $15 suggested donation/$10 st. 603-205-3814 or
    peter.urquhart@unh.edu. This is one I’ll be writing about. I
    didn’t want to clutter the list, but they’re doing the same
    program on Wednesday at 2PM in the MIT Chapel. Provides some
    early brass.

Friday

  • 9:30am-11:30am AMERICAN RECORDER SOCIETY: Recorder Relay.Cathedral Church of St. Paul, 38 Tremont Street. Donations accepted.
  • 10am (also 1PM) The Newberry Consort (Ellen Hargis, soprano; David
    Douglass, violin; Russell Wagner, Ken Perlow, Phillip Serna &
    Craig Trompeter, viola da gamba). Elizabeth I (1912): An Early
    Movie with Early Music. One of Sarah Bernhardt’s most successful
    theatrical productions, Les amours de la reine Élizabeth (The
    loves of Queen Elizabeth), was made into a full-length feature
    film. Fledgling movie mogul Anton Zukor understood the film’s
    potential and brought it to the U.S., and as a result, garnered
    enough profits to start what is now Paramount Pictures. Newberry
    Consort director David Douglass has turned this early
    20th-century phenomenon into a one-of-a-kind work of performance
    art by creating a soundtrack of Elizabethan music performed live
    to this silent film. A five-part consort of violin and viols,
    along with soprano Ellen Hargis, perform dramatic music written
    about the historical events surrounding Elizabeth and her
    court — including the English victory over the Spanish Armada;
    Elizabeth’s tragic relationship with Robert Devereaux, the Earl
    of Essex; and Elizabeth’s eventual demise – as accompaniment to
    the film. Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. $20/$5 BEMF,
    Suffolk University students. 617-557-6537 or
    moderntheatre@suffolk.edu.
  • 2pm ¡Sacabuche! (Linda Pearse, artistic director & sackbut; Ann Waltner, co-director & speaker; Wendy Gillespie, viola da gamba; Huang Ruo, composer; Qin Fang, speaker; Yang Yi, guzheng; Carrie Tsujui Chin, sheng; Sarah Barbash-Riley, Ray Horton & François Godère, sackbut; Martie Perry & Janelle Davis, Baroque violin; Elise Figa, soprano; Andrew Rader, countertenor; Benjamin Geier, tenor; Eunji Lee, organ; Cathy Barbash, producer). Matteo Ricci: His Map and Music. A multimedia performance reanimating the pivotal cultural exchange between Italian Jesuits and Chinese literati in 17th-century China. This program premiered at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing, China, and combines music and dramatic readings, visually framed by a projected digitized version of the world map created by Matteo Ricci and presented to the Wanli Emperor. The repertoire includes Italian music of Ricci’s Italy performed on period instruments, Chinese music of Ricci’s China performed on Chinese instruments, as well as collaborative new works composed for ¡Sacabuche! and two Chinese instrumentalists by Chinese composer Huang Ruo. Performed as part of the Early Music America Young Performers Festival. Cathedral Church of St. Paul. $25/$15 st, sr, BEMF, EMA. 812-219-1034 or dpearse@indiana.edu.
  • 3:45pm Renaissonics and Hesperus (Tina Chancey & Dana
    Maiben, Renaissance violin; James Johnston, violin & viola;
    Grant Herreid & Douglas Freundlich, lute; John Tyson, recorders
    & pipe and tabor; Daniel Rowe, violoncello; Miyuki Tsurutani,
    recorders & harpsichord). Improv Cabaret. Renaissance music’s
    hottest improvisers in an all-star jam session. Relax in Rustic
    Kitchen’s elegant Atrium, and get your polyphonic groove
    on. Rustic Kitchen. FREE to Rustic Kitchen patrons. 617-423-5700
    or http://www.rustickitchen.biz. Lots of early music was really
    written for your dining and dancing pleasure — have some where
    you can actually eat and drink. (I don’t know about the
    dancing, but you can probably figure it out if you want to.)

Saturday

  • 5pm Canto Armonico (Simon Carrington, director), with Bálint Karosi, organ. A Praetorius Organvespers for Pentecost. Program to include organvespers featuring chant, concerted motets by Michael Praetorius and his contemporaries, and an organ Magnificat by Heinrich Scheidemann. First Lutheran Church, Boston. Freewill offering. 617-489-8827 or canto.armonico.usa@gmail.com.

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