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Houston Early Music presents Ensemble Caprice in Music of Paradise and Hell on March 5th at 8pm at Christ the King Lutheran Church, featuring a dazzling selection of 17th century works on recorders, viola da gamba, Baroque guitar and percussion. The performance coincides with the Society of Seventeenth-Century Music annual conference at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music.
“The co-artistic directors, Matthias Maute and Sophie Larivièreare, are simply phenomenal players, among the best in the world,” says Nancy Ellis, Houston Early Music artistic director. “Their virtuosity, along with that of the other ensemble musicians, has earned Caprice a much-deserved reputation as one of the top early music groups on the international scene.” The ensemble also includes such outstanding musicians as Susie Napper on viola da gamba, David Jacques on Baroque guitar, and percussionist Ziya Tabassian.
Originally founded in Germany, the now Montreal-based Ensemble Caprice aims for innovation as they head into their 20th anniversary season. “We try to find Baroque music that does not sound Baroque,” says Maute, who plays the recorder and Baroque flute, and composes. “There is so much music in the 17th and 18th century that is off the beaten tracks, that it gives us great pleasure to throw these unusual styles – like Baroque gypsy music – into our program.”
Music of Paradise and Hell features music by such 17th century legends as Andrea Falconieri, Francesco Turini, Marco Uccellini, Francesco Corbetta and Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. “We are all somewhere in between heaven and hell, and we like to present programs that relate to us as contemporaries,” says Maute. “Needless to say, the composers of the 17th century had a lot to say on this subject.” Contrasts abound as well in considering the pairing of Andrea Falconieri and Johann Heinrich Schmelzer. “They never worked together, but when you witness the meeting of their music, it is as if John Lennon and Paul McCartney started joint song writing again,” says Maute. “It is ‘reality music,’ full of joy, conflict, dissonances, arguments, entertainment and sadness.”
Caprice’s most recent CD, Gloria! Vivaldi’s Angels, (Analekta) has won Canada’s prestigious 2009 JUNO award in the category of Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral Performance. “It’s been an honor to win the JUNO,” says Maute. “We can definitely book the year 2009 as our most successful year.”
Matthias Maute will give a pre-concert talk at 7:15 p.m.
Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX 77005
Limited free parking is available on the lot west of Christ the King Lutheran Church. Ample parking is available for $1.00 (credit card only) across the street at Rice University’s stadium parking lot on the southeast corner of Rice & Greenbriar.
Tickets are available online at www.HoustonEarlyMusic.org and at the door: $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors, and $10 for students (with student ID.) Free admission for children under 15.
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