The article about the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers has been very popular with our readers! So, I am sure it is welcome news that the Portland Baroque Orchestra will be presenting a program of Italian music from the 17th and 18th centuries from the 23rd to the 25th of November.
On Saturday, the 24th there will be a concert aimed at a youth audience. PBO concertmaster Carla Moore and principal cellist Tanya Tomkins, each a director of her own Bay Area ensemble, make their PBO directing debuts and also perform as soloists in a program featuring works by composers Vivaldi, Locatelli, and Castello, to name a few. Audiences will get a special chance to hear the rich sonorities of both the baroque bassoon and its 17th-century predecessor, the dulcian – both performed by Oregon native Nate Helgeson. Mr. Helgeson is a recent graduate of the Juilliard Historical Performance Institute where PBO’s Artistic Director, Monica Huggett is Artistic Advisor, and instructor.
(Photo of Nate Helgeson playing and 18th century bassoon, courtesy of Portland Baroque Orchestra)
For more information about the concert, here is the link:
Tanya Tomkins has compiled a lot of very interesting information about the many different Italian works on the program.
Here are some highlights from Tanya’s program notes:
By now all players and enthusiasts of Baroque music are familiar with Vivaldi and Corelli, the popular Italian composers whose music we strongly associate with brilliant violin playing. However, at this concert you will hear a different perspective on 17th and 18th century Italian music. Many of the pieces on this program will prominently feature the bassoon and its close ancestor, the dulcian––instruments we normally associate with the supporting role of the bass line.
(Photo of dulcians from Wikimedia commons contributed by HansMons)
Up until the 17th century, music was written for non-specific groups of instruments. Instrumentalists could, without singers, play choral music, for instance, and dance music could be played by any group of instruments available. Starting with Monteverdi, around 1600, composers started writing for specific instruments, and in this program, especially on the second half, you will hear, alongside the more familiar concerti grossi of later composers, music that was written expressly to show off the incredible versatility and beautiful sound of the bassoon and dulcian.
The first half of the program will feature the music of Corelli’s students, Vivaldi (1678-1741) and Locatelli (1695-1764). The title given to Locatelli’s Concerto no. 6 in op. 7, Il Pianto d’Arianna (Ariadne’s lament), has been seen by some as a tribute to the world of opera, even though there are no precise clues as to which works Locatelli might have had in mind. Nevertheless, it is clear that Locatelli was interested in using instruments to express emotions that, until a few decades earlier, had only been conveyed in singing. In Il Pianto d’Arianna, the use of a violin ‘recitative’ and the expressive harmonies used in the tutti create an effective piece rich in emotional power and content.
(Photo of Pietro Locatelli from Wikimedia commons. Copyright no longer applies)