Follow the evolution of the concerto grosso in Italy. Melodies bounce between soloists and the orchestra, highlighting the depth of Lyra’s string sections. Guest conductor and cellist Jaap ter Linden leads this final concert of the season.
The concert will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at Rushford-Peterson Senior High School, 1000 Pine Meadows Lane, Rushford. This performance is free.
In the last concert of one of Lyra’s most ambitious seasons, the orchestra will showcase the Italian concerto grosso in its many forms. This concerto style became popular in the late 17th century and is characterized by a group of soloists (the concertino) sharing the melody line amongst themselves and with the orchestra (the ripieno), unlike solo concertos in which one instrument carries the melody line. These pieces require significant depth among the string section, and Lyra proves more than ready for the challenge.
The program begins with Alessandro Stradella, the notorious Tuscan rake, whose work predates the term “concerto grosso” but clearly laid the foundation for what became its eventual format. Stradella’s contemporary, Arcangelo Corelli, solidified the work Stradella began, gave it the name “concerto grosso,” and is now considered “the Godfather” of the style. Corelli himself was an excellent violinist, and wrote his violin concertos in virtuoso style. Guiseppe Sammartini provides yet another of the Corelli-style concerto grosso, trading the melody between solo voices and the chorus.
In the concerto by Pietro Locatelli, “we find other, more programmatic uses of the concerto grosso form,” said cellist and conductor Jaap ter Linden. “Arianna mourns the loss of her beloved Theseus, a story led by the violin, leaving the strict concerto grosso form and including recitative passages to help tell the dramatic tale.” Francesco Geminiani’s piece also departs from the earlier format: it was originally written to accompany a pantomime, and was only later published as a purely instrumental work.
Finally, the program includes two pieces by Antonio Vivaldi, very different from the other despite falling under the concerto grosso category. The concerto for two cellos is a “raucous work,” according to ter Linden, “where the players take turns inviting and challenging each other.” The “Cello Concerto in E Minor,” in contrast, is slower, melodic, and melancholic.
• “Sinfonia a tre in D Major,” Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682)
• “Concerto Grosso in D Major, Op. 6, No. 4,” Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
• “Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531” and “Cello Concerto in E Minor, RV 409,” Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
• “Concerto Grosso in A Major, Op. 2, No. 1,” Giuseppe Sammartini (1695-1750)
• “Concerto Grosso in E-Flat Major, Op. 7, No. 6” and ‘Il Pianto de Arianna,” Pietro Locatelli (1695-1764)
• “Concerto Grosso in D Minor” from “The Enchanted Forest,” Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762)
The guest artist
Cellist and conductor Jaap ter Linden has devoted his illustrious career to historical performance practice, reaching out to audiences with his moving performances and inspiring colleagues and students with his musical enthusiasm and integrity. His relentless curiosity for the music of Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart has led him to concentrate on this repertoire in his current conducting projects — including a Beethoven cycle with the Wroclaw Symphony — and was the driving force behind a recording of the complete Mozart symphonies with his own Mozart Akademie. The same fascination extends to his chamber music endeavors: this year he will record the complete Beethoven cello and piano works with American fortepianist David Breitman. In upcoming performances, Elizabeth Wallfisch joins them to play the Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms trios.
ter Linden is a regular guest conductor and performer with a number of ensembles, including Ensemble Arion (Montreal), Portland Baroque Orchestra, and the Lyra Baroque Orchestra. Recently retired from the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, he continues teaching a handful of advanced students and gives regular master classes throughout Europe and the United States. He enjoys having more time to dedicate to a long-lost passion for photography, as well as writing about various themes related to music and movement, and further exploring the world of music and meaning. ter Linden has made numerous recordings; among his personal favorites are the two different versions of the Bach suites, the old “Vivaldi L’Estro Armonico” recording with the English Concert, and his Mozart symphonies.
The Lyra Baroque Orchestra brings a rare freshness, color, and dimension to the glorious music of the 17th and 18th centuries through its performances on baroque instruments, combining the talents of renowned, local, early-music specialists and international guest artists. The orchestra prides itself on being unusually accessible to audiences through captivating, relevant performances and educational programs that inspire future generations of musicians.
Since 1985, Lyra has been the Upper Midwest’s premiere advocate for historically informed performance practice and is the region’s only resident professional period instrument orchestra.
Lyra’s mission is to inspire and enrich the community through exceptional performances of baroque music on historic instruments.