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Concert Preview: EMG presents Portland Baroque and Rinaldo Alessandrini

April 1, 2010

From Paris to Berlin (by way of Venice)

Rinaldo Alessandrini.

EMG’s final International series program of the 2009-10 season traces the gradual transition from high baroque to early classical era in the music of four composers: Couperin, Vivaldi, Telemann, and J.C. Bach. At the keyboard and conducting will be Rinaldo Alessandrini, one of Europe’s leading interpreters of early music, performing with six soloists from the Portland Baroque Orchestra. The program opens with Alessandrini solo in a performance of Couperin’s splendid fourteen-movement sonata and suite for keyboard  L’imperiale, a musical testament to the gradual unification of the French, Italian, and German styles into a harmonious (though not homogeneous) all-European musical practice.

Alessandrini actually started out as a musician as a harpsichordist (studying with the legendary master Ton Koopman), but his current fame is securely based on his interpretations of the vocal and instrumental music of Antonio Vivaldi, to which he brings a rare blend of thumping energy and limpid lyricism. For this program he has selected one of the master’s almost “Brandenburg-esque” “concertos without orchestra” for four equal solo instruments and continuo. (This one, RV 107, ends with the famous string of virtuoso variations on the theme of “la Folia.”)

The music of Saxon composer Georg Philipp Telemann was hugely popular in 18th century Paris: Unfortunately for Telemann, virtually all of it was pirated.  In 1737, Telemann spent more than six months in Paris trying to get control of the rights to his own music; he failed, but the six new suites he composed while there (trio sonatas, in effect, for flute, violin and continuo) proved among his most popular, achieving Europe-wide fame over the next 30 years.

With the music of Johann Christian Bach, the program moves to a distinctly “classical” conclusion. The music of J.C., “the London Bach,” can easily be mistaken for that of Mozart, and his postumously published quintet for violin, cello, flute, oboe, and harpsichord exhibits all the influences that came together in the course of the eighteenth century to create the new concerto and symphonic forms: thematic development, galant dances, and (in its Vivaldian third movement) the vigor and flare of Haydn’s symphonic finales. A well-rounded program to celebrate the close of EMG’s 33rd year bringing the best of pre-steel music local and international to the Puget Sound public.

Portland Baroque with Rinaldo Alessandrini

8pm Saturday, April 17, 2010

at Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Avenue

(8th & Seneca on Capitol Hill)

Tickets available online here. For more information call 206-325-7066.

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