Crescendo Celebrates 10th Anniversary with Works by Bach and Zipoli

Juilanne Baird

Juilanne Baird

(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass., and LAKEVILLE, Conn.) – Works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Zipoli will be presented by Crescendo, featuring the Crescendo Chorus and the Crescendo Period Instrument Orchestra, including several Andean instruments will be joined by guest soloists Julianne Baird, soprano, Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor, and Pablo Bustos, tenor, at the First Congregational Church (251 Main St.) in Great Barrington on Saturday, November 15, 2014, at 6 pm, and at Trinity Church (484 Lime Rock Rd.) in Lakeville on Sunday, November 16, at 4 pm.

In celebration of Crescendo’s 10th Anniversary year, the award-winning Connecticut-based music organization presents Baroque sacred vocal music of two great composers of the 18th century, the well-known and beloved Johann Sebastian Bach and Domenico Zipoli, whose masterful compositions have become accessible to the world only since the end of the 20th century.

This past spring, Crescendo won the prestigious Chorus America/ASCAP Alice Parker Award judged by a panel of composers and presented each year to one North American chorus for its innovative programming. The Chorus received as well the Alfred Nash Patterson Award given by Choral Arts New England, a grant given for these upcoming concerts.

Domenico Zipoli, born in Prato, Italy in 1688, studied with Alessandro Scarlatti in Naples. Later in Rome he had a prestigious position as organist of Rome’s Jesuit Church, writing two oratorios and keyboard pieces during this time. At the age of 28 he joined the Jesuit Order and left Europe for a life as a musician and missionary in South America. Music played a huge role in the life of the Jesuit settlements, and Zipoli’s works were performed throughout South America. Zipoli was the most famous composer in South America and his reputation spread to Europe, but he never returned there and died in Argentina in 1726 at the age of 37.

Musicologists knew of Zipoli only through his work in Italy and fragments of his writing in South America. In the 1980s while restoring an old mission church in Bolivia, a Swiss architect uncovered many scores of Zipoli’s. They had been stashed away in the mid-1700s when Spain expelled the Jesuits and their churches were abandoned.

Zipoli’s compositions were written to be sung and performed for the indigenous people of the settlements. Crescendo Artistic Director Christine Gevert describes his work: “Zipoli’s music is comparable in style and quality to his contemporary Antonio Vivaldi – full of contrasting and dramatic elements, which make vocal Baroque music of the 18th century so attractive. He writes beautiful and demanding lines for the featured soloists. At the same time his music is very accessible and lacks the intricate counterpoint and complex harmonies of Bach’s works. In our performance we will combine European Baroque instruments with native Andean ones, such as quenas and charango, to create the unique sound of the Latin American Baroque.”

Pablo Bustos

Pablo Bustos

The concert will feature two of Johann Sebastian Bach’s early cantatas, “Nun Komm, der Heiden Heiland BMV 61” and “Nach dir, Herr, verlanget mich BMV 150.”  Gevert notes: “These cantatas have a similar casting to Zipoli’s works—strings and basso continuo (bass instruments)–and were written around the same time. They both show the young Bach’s excellence in portraying the text in a very dramatic way, using the voices of the chorus commenting similarly to how it would have been in an ancient Greek play, using rhetorical elements to intensify the ideas expressed. The arias in these works are very elaborate and lack nothing in comparison with later works of the great master.”

There will be a pre-concert talk given thirty minutes before each concert. Tickets are $30 and $10 for children under 18. Premium seating is available for $45. For groups of 10 or more, a special rate is available for the November 15 performance. For tickets and information, go to Crescendo or call 860-435-4866.

These performances are supported in part by an Alfred Nash Patterson Grant from Choral Arts New England and are both Take Part Culture Card events of the Northwest Connecticut Arts Council.




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