Houston Early Music, premier presenter of the world’s finest period ensembles and soloists, is introducing something new to audiences this year.
For its 2012-2013 season, Houston Early Music will debut its Emerging Artists Series, adding to its usual line-up of world-class performers.
Nancy Ellis, artistic director, said the new series will make for an especially exciting season. “We always search to bring first-class ensembles and soloists to Houston audiences,” Ellis said. “This year, we searched some of the most interesting emerging artists to put a new twist on our season.”
Magali Suárez Candler, Houston Early Music Board member, said the Emerging Artists Series distinguishes the organization. “It is something we can truly be proud to offer,” she said. “Nancy Ellis is excellent at discovering new artists and new groups. She is gifted at finding and recognizing talent and always brings wonderful groups to the stage.”
Hispanic Heritage Series: The Kingdoms of Castille
The season opens with Grammy-nominated ensemble El Mundo. Directed by guitarist and lutenist Richard Savino, the ensemble will play music of the 17th and 18th centuries from Spain and her Latin American colonies. A very active music scene in cathedrals and the courtly life, combined with the participation of the local populations and their folk music, produced a delightful intersection of elegance and simplicity. In “The Kingdoms of Castille,” the ensemble uses voices, violins, lute, percussion and harpsichord to create sounds ranging from folk-like to sublimely sensual.
“Richard Savino is a world-renowned performer, and we’re honored to have him come back to Houston for this concert,” Candler said.
The concert is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12 at Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church. A pre-concert talk with ensemble members starts at 6:45 p.m.
On Tuesday, Dec. 11, the Baltimore Consort will ring in the holiday season.
“We’ve presented them before, and they’ve always been one of our most popular concerts,” Candler said. “The Baltimore Consort brings the joy of the season and of music to our city.”
The ensemble has toured the United States, Canada and Europe for more than 30 seasons. This year, the dynamic group’s performance entitled “Wassail, Wassail!” will feature voices and a festive variety of instruments – lute, cittern, viols, crumhorns, recorders, rebec and percussion – and a mélange of old carols and dance tunes from the British Isles, Germany, France, Spain and the New World.
The Yuletide celebration will start at 7:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral. A pre-concert talk with ensemble members begins at 6:45 p.m.
Emerging Artists Series: Udite Amanti – Lovers Beware!
Texas-based Armonia Celeste is an up-and-coming group specializing in rarely heard music from the Italian Renaissance and early Baroque eras. The ensemble is comprised of three distinct female voices accompanied by period instruments: lute, theorbo, guitar and Baroque triple harp.
Each of the five members is an exciting solo performer in their own right, and together, the musicians create an unforgettable combination of vocal and instrumental notes, ornamented with a noticeable passion for the group’s repertoire.
The program, “Udite Amanti – Lovers Beware!,” highlights Roman composers of the mid-17th-century, when the Barberini family was a great supporter of vocal chamber music. Featured composers include Rossi, Carissimi and Cesti. To complete the historical picture, a copy of the famous Barberini harp, made for this prestigious family in 1635, will be played in this concert.
The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013 at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. A pre-concert talk with ensemble members begins at 6:45 p.m.
The season continues with a performance produced in collaboration with Da Camera of Houston. At 8 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, 2013, the French ensemble La Poème Harmonique will take the stage at Cullen Theater, in the Wortham Theater Center, for its Houston debut.
The French ensemble was founded in 1998 and recaptures the poetry of early music, particularly of the late Renaissance and early Baroque eras. Semi-staged in candlelight, the program “Venezia” features works by Claudio Monteverdi, Biagio Marini, Francesco Manelli and Benedetto Ferrari. The evening will be a celebration of Venice in the Golden Age, when art music and popular forms came together and mingled, before emotion and language were restrained by rules and codes.
The Black Dragon: music from the time of Vlad Dracula
The season closes with Cançonier, a San Francisco-based ensemble devoted to medieval repertoire from the 12th to 15th centuries and traditional music from Scandinavia, the Balkans, and the Middle East.
“The Black Dragon: music from the time of Vlad Dracula” features 15th-century music from the time of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, whose tyrannical rule shocked Europe.
Ensemble member Shira Kammen is known for her early-music performances in Houston on medieval fiddle and harp. The program features the “Lamentation for the Fall of Constantinople” by Dufay, French and Italian dance music, German songs and Balkan folk songs.
“The audience will enjoy this ensemble’s creative presentation and unusual repertoire,” said Candler.
The event is set for 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26, 2013, at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. A pre-concert talk with ensemble members begins at 6:45 p.m.
Full season subscriptions to the Houston Early Music 2012-2013 season are available now and can be purchased at HoustonEarlyMusic.org. A mini-pass option is also offered. For more information, e-mail info@HoustonEarlyMusic.org or call 281-846-4222.
Friday, October 12, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
HISPANIC HERITAGE SERIES
EL MUNDO, RICHARD SAVINO -- The Kingdoms of Castille
Salem Evangelical Lutheran Church
4930 West Bellfort
Houston, TX 77035
Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 7:30 p.m.
BALTIMORE CONSORT -- Wassail, Wassail!
Christ Church Cathedral
1117 Texas Ave.
Houston, Texas 77002
Tuesday, February 12, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
EMERGING ARTISTS SERIES
ARMONIA CELESTE -- Udite Amanti -- Lovers Beware!
Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church
6221 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77030
Saturday, March 9, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
IN COLLABORATION WITH DA CAMERA OF HOUSTON
LA POÈME HARMONIQUE -- Venezia
Cullen Theatre, Wortham Theater Center, 8:00pm
501 Texas Avenue
Houston, TX 77002
Houston Early Music season ticket subscribers will get a significant discount on premium seating for this concert. Individual tickets for this concert will be available through Da Camera of Houston, www.dacamera.com, 713-524-7601.
Friday, April 26, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
CANÇONIER -- The Black Dragon: music from the time of Vlad Dracula
Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church
6221 Main Street
Houston, TX 77030
ABOUT HOUSTON EARLY MUSIC
As the city’s only organization dedicated to covering the large historical span of early music in all of its forms, Houston Early Music epitomizes a movement that has swept the world of classical music. Officially incorporated in 1969, the nonprofit provides performance opportunities for up-and-coming and major early music artists from around the world in an annual concert series. A successful and growing educational outreach program introduces a future generation to a broad range of music. Houston Early Music is funded in part by grants from the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.