Early Music Voices undergoes renaissance
On Sunday, at Christ Church in Elbow Park, Early Music Voices will present a concert of late-Renaissance and early-Baroque music featuring the renowned early music soprano Katherine Hill from Toronto. The concert, focusing upon vocal and instrumental rarities of the period, will also feature String Theory, a new early music string ensemble comprised of Calgary-based string players.
The concert is the first event in the society ’s 20th anniversary season. The result of much dedication and persistence, but especially of Julie Harris, the society ’s founding director, Early Music Voices now offers the Calgary public a series of annual concerts that has presented major works by great composers of the past, such as Handel and Bach, and has also offered unusual programs devoted to a more esoteric repertoire.
Founded by Harris after her return to Calgary following a period of study in the Netherlands and Toronto, Early Music Voices has, over the years, presented a remarkable series of international soloists, including sopranos Karina Gauvin and Suzie Leblanc. This year, the concert lineup will include Andrea Scholl, one of with world’s leading countertenors.
Recently expanding to include larger works, Early Music Voices has presented programs that include Bach’s Magnificat and Purcell’s Ode on St. Cecilia’s Day. This year, the concerts will include a complete performance of Monteverdi’s grandly expansive Vespers of 1610, one of the greatest works of the early-Baroque period.
Early Music Voices has inspired the development of the instrumental side of early music in the city, and now regularly performs with Rosa Barocca, a chamber orchestra devoted to period instrument performance. With the CPO taking a year off from its annual performance of Handel’s Messiah, Early Music Voices is stepping into the gap and at Christmas is offering a period-performance of this evergreen masterpiece with a 16-voice choir and with top local soloists.
Over the years, the audience for these concerts has grown, and it is now customary to see the pews of Christ Church filled on Sunday afternoons with patrons who have come to enjoy the rare works.
The Oct. 28 program, for example, will include an instrumental work by little-known Frenchified Italian composer Michele Mascitti, based on the story of Cupid and Psyche. As well-known as more famous Italian composers in his day, such as Albinoni or Vivaldi, his
music has become obscure, and it is likely to be the first time Calgarians will hear his music played live.