Early Music Now
Press Release

Early Music Now Explores the Origins of Chamber Music

Early Music Now’s second concert of the season is actually two concerts.

By - Oct 20th, 2014 05:02 pm
Quicksilver. Photo by Tatiana Daubek courtesy of Early Music Now.

Quicksilver. Photo by Tatiana Daubek.

Early Music Now’s second concert of the season is actually two concerts – promising a broad look at the origins of chamber music, and designed to satisfy a target audience ranging from local string students to international visitors gathered in Milwaukee to attend the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society of Music Theory.

Led by violinists Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijeski, Quicksilver (quicksilverbaroque.com) brings together many of today’s leading historically informed American performers. Described as “revered like rock stars within the early-music scene” (New York Times), and as “drop dead gorgeous with a wonderful interplay of timbres,” (Early Music America). Quicksilver vibrantly explores the rich chamber music repertoire of the early modern period, garnering accolades from coast to coast.

Quicksilver’s Milwaukee residency will survey the seventeenth century “invention” of chamber music, including the development of the sonata form – in completely different programs on two successive nights.  This residency coincides with the Annual Meeting of the American Musicological Society and the Society of Music Theory, and includes coaching and masterclasses with members of the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the String Academy of Wisconsin.

On Friday, November 7th at 7:30 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 914 East Knapp Street, Quicksilver co-directors Robert Mealy and Julie Andrijewski will be joined by cellist David Morris, harpsichordist Avi Stein, and guitarist/theorboist Charlie Weaver in a performance of Stile Moderno: New Music from Seventeenth-Century Italy, including music by Dario Castello (fl.early 17c), Giovanni Battista Fontana (1589-1630), Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c.1580-1651), Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690), Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665), and Michelangelo Rossi (1602-1656).

The seventeenth century was a transformative moment in our Western cultural history.   The world became modern: new technologies were emerging, our modern economic system was developing, the earth was no longer at the center of the universe. Among the cultural revolutions was one in music. Composers consciously began to create a nuove musiche or stile moderno of dramatic oppositions and vivid emotions, in striking contrast to the smooth tapestry of Renaissance polyphony. Quicksilver’s Stile Moderno examines this modern music as it was invented by virtuoso instrumental composers in Italy. The program also explores their new invention, the sonata: a pure instrumental work, a piece simply meant to be “sounded,” with no agenda but the imagination of the composer. The sonata provided a medium for striking creativity, unrestricted by a standard formal shape and stretching the boundaries and impact of wordless conversation.

On Saturday, November 8th at 7:30 also at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Quicksilver will be joined by guest violists Cynthia Black and Daniel Elyar in a performance of  The Invention of Chamber Music: The Early Modern String Quartet, including music of Daniel Bacheler (1572–1619), Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644–1704)William Brade (1560-1630), Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707) Anthony Holborne (c. 1545-1602), William Lawes (1602–1645), and Johann Heinrich Schmelzer (c.1620–1680).

Today’s string quartets and quintets have a remarkable pre-history in the seventeenth century, when composers took the Renaissance idea of consort music and created new and compelling repertoires for strings with continuo. This program is a rare chance to hear some of the early masterpieces of this genre, from late Renaissance dances and fantasies to the theatrical sonatas of the new violin virtuosos of the 1680s.

Tickets for these two separate programs are available online at EarlyMusicNow.org, by phone at 414.225.3113, or by mail at Early Music Now, 759 N. Milwaukee Street #420, Milwaukee 53202. Prices are $28-$44 for adults or seniors, and $10-$15 for students, with a special discount for choosing both programs. Group rates are also available.

These concerts are sponsored by John Shannon & Jan Serr, with support for the residency activities coming from the City of Milwaukee Arts Board.

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