Crescendo’s 2018-19 Season
UPCOMING! – August 11, 5:30 pm at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA
“Paintings in Song – Document of a Multimedia Premiere”
This event is a Video Showing of the 2017 premiere performance of John Myers’ work “Paintings in Song,” commissioned by Crescendo. A multimedia composition of nine choral pieces based on Norman Rockwell’s paintings, including the Four Freedoms, was premiered by Crescendo Chorus and soloists, the Berkshire Children’s Chorus and instruments, with projection of an animation of the images. The composer John Myers, Stephanie Plunckett, Deputy Director/Chief Curator at the Norman Rockwell Museum and Crescendo’s founding artistic director Christine Gevert will share insights about the collaboration process.
*This event is hosted and organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum.
The wooden, one-keyed Baroque flute (traverso) emerged toward the end of the 17th century in Paris and quickly became a very popular instrument in the rest of Europe. Its warm and flexible tone makes it extremely suitable to express affections that move the listener. Corelli’s Sonatas Op. 5, originally written for violin, were arranged in his lifetime for the traverso. The Op. 5 collection is a masterpiece, and it influenced Baroque composers like Handel and Bach, who admired and studied them.
Duo Les Inégales with Rodrigo Tarraza, traverso, and Christine Gevert, harpsichord, perform some of the greatest sonatas of these three composers.
October 6, 6 pm in Lakeville, CT
“A Tribute to Wanda Landowska”—Music by Froberger and Louis and François Couperin
The harpsichord was one of the most popular Baroque keyboard instruments. Its plucked strings have a rich sound, whose clarity informs the complex contrapuntal texture of Baroque music. Almost every baroque composer wrote for the harpsichord! The 17th century keyboard virtuoso Johann Jakob Froberger was the first composer writing titled, descriptive pieces for the harpsichord. He influenced his contemporaries, among them the French composer Louis Couperin and his famous nephew, François Couperin. The harpsichord suffered a long period of neglect through all of the 19th century. It was brought back to the concert platform by the visionary performer Wanda Landowska (1879-1959), who lived for some time in Lakeville, CT. This concert honors her legacy.
World renowned Polish harpsichordist Władysław Kłosiewicz plays works by Johann Jakob Froberger, Louis Couperin and François Couperin. This concert is funded in part by Narol Enterprise and the Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
November 10 & 11, 5 & 4 pm in Great Barrington, MA and Lakeville, CT
“The Sound of the Trumpet—Celebrating Life in England & New England”
This program was conceived around two “Requiems” and two “Jubilates” of different eras, featuring Henry Purcell’s “Funeral Sentences and Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary” (1695), and Purcell’s “Jubilate” (also written Queen Mary in 1694, to celebrate Saint Cecilia’s Day, the patroness of music), and Scott Perkins’ “A New England Requiem” (2013) and Perkins’ “Jubilate Deo,” and Sir John Taverner’s “A Song for Athene” (1993), which was later performed at Lady Diana’s funeral in 1997.
Performers are Crescendo Chorus, Vocal Ensemble and Soloists (including countertenor Nicholas Tamagna), with Period Brass, Strings, Basso Continuo and Organ, directed by Christine Gevert.
November 24, 5:30 pm at the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, MA
“Music in the Museum: Paintings in Song”
John Myers’ “Paintings in Song,” a multimedia composition of nine choral pieces based on on Norman Rockwell’s paintings, including the Four Freedoms, will be performed in the Galleries of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, MA. You will hear Norman Rockwell’s images come alive with a fusion of Classical styles and American 20th century popular music genres in the home of his paintings, and surrounded by them. One of the highlights of this concert is “Freedom from Want,” which portrays the American values associated with the Thanksgiving celebration.
Performers are singers of the Crescendo Vocal Ensemble, the Berkshire Children’s Chorus and instrumentalists, including the composer, all directed by Christine Gevert.
*This concert is hosted by the Norman Rockwell Museum and is a collaboration between the Museum, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Berkshire Children’s Chorus and Crescendo.
December 28 & 29, 6 & 3 pm in Great Barrington, MA and Lakeville, CT
“Sublime Love” The life of the Mexican nun, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in 17th century Latin American Music, Poetry and Images
The controversial live of Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés De la Cruz will be depicted through music, artwork and poetry readings. Called “The Tenth Muse,” Sor Juana is considered one of the best poets of the Spanish New World Golden Age.
Crescendo collaborates with “El Fuego,” an Early Music Ensemble from North Carolina, in a program designed by their Artistic Director, Salomé Sandoval. The program features a selection of sacred and secular cantatas from the 1600s New World Colonies (Guatemalan, Peruvian and Mexican sources), featuring vocal compositions by Tomás de Torrejón y Velasco and his contemporaries.
With Crescendo Vocal Ensemble, Salomé Sandoval, voice, baroque guitar and archlute, Malina Rauschenfels, voice and violoncello, Christine Gevert, organ and direction.
February 9 & 10 (snow dates 16 & 17) in Great Barrington, MA and Lakeville, CT
“Concerto delle Donne—Consort of Ladies” Revolutionary Italian Vocal music of the late Renaissance.
In 1580 in Ferrara, Italy, an ensemble of professional female singers–probably the first one of their gender–became renowned for their technical and artistic virtuosity. This ensemble, the ‘Concerto delle Donne’, performed formal concerts for members of the inner circle of the Ferrara court and important visitors, and revolutionized the role of women in professional music.
Sopranos Catherine Hancock, Jennifer Tyo and other soloists, accompanied and directed by Christine Gevert on the organ and harpsichord will perform works by the Ferrara court composer, Luzzascho Luzzaschi, as well as early Italian Baroque motets, arias and duets by Claudio Monteverdi, Barbara Strozzi, and others.
April 6 & 7, 6 & 4 pm in Great Barrington, MA and Lakeville, CT
“The Mystical 16: the 1616 Settings of Psalm 116 and contemporary versions”
In the year 1616 Burckhard Grossmann, a merchant from Jena, Germany, after surviving a near death experience, in gratitude commissioned sixteen composers from central Germany to write five-part settings of Psalm 116. Among the sixteen were master composers of church music such as Heinrich Schütz, Christoph Demantius and Johann Hermann Schein. Our program will feature motets from this collection by these three composers, and also earlier settings of Psalm 116: Gregorian Chant, and works by Benedictus Ducis and Orlando di Lasso. The modern settings of Psalm 116 are by composers Thomas Borugian, Jonny Priano and others. The texts to these compositions will be contemporary poetry based on Psalm 116, written for Crescendo by Bruce McEver, Frances Roth and Juliet Mattila. Three works have been commissioned for Crescendo, and will be premiered at this performance.
Performers are Crescendo Chorus, Vocal Ensemble and Soloists, with Period Instruments, directed by Christine Gevert.
May 18 & 19, 6 & 4 pm in Great Barrington, MA and Lakeville, CT
“Prince of Light and Prince of Darkness” Motets and Madrigals by Monteverdi & Gesualdo
Claudio Monteverdi lived in a time of great change, as the vocal polyphony of the Renaissance gave way to the textures of the early Baroque. He harnessed both styles with great skill, sometimes contrasting them in the same work, and wrote successfully in every vocal genre. His contemporary Carlo Gesualdo’s vocal music is among the most experimental and expressive of the late Renaissance. One of the most obvious characteristics of his music is the extravagant text setting of words representing extremes of emotion. This program features sacred and secular motets and madrigals by the two composers.
Crescendo Vocal Ensemble is directed by Christine Gevert from the organ.
Our Concert Venues for this season are: