Tempesta di Mare | Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra & Chamber Players

Party of the Muses—March 24 & 25

Tempesta di Mare is an old-music group that acts like a new-music group, by pushing the cutting edge back rather than forward”—Philadelphia Inquirer



an orchestral program of Tempesta firsts

PHILADELPHIA, PA—February 21, 2012 — Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra Tempesta di Mare welcomes a class of four new composers in a program called Party of the Muses that marks the culmination of its multi-season rediscovery of orchestral music of J.F. Fasch. The orchestra will perform Kusser’s theatrical Festin des Muses, a tour-de-force violin concerto by Locatelli and the modern premieres of a symphony by Endler and a concerto grosso by Stölzel, all alongside a rip-snorting orchestral suite by Fasch. Performances of this fourth production in the ensemble’s 10th Anniversary Season take place on March 24 and 25 in Center City and Chestnut Hill.

Dr. Stephen Zohn’s pre-performance talks, which precede both performances, will address the influence of the French suite on Kusser of the time, and the other three composers’ lasting influence and current revivals.

In Party of the Muses, Tempesta di Mare wraps up its two-season, live-in-concert recording project of music by Bach-contemporary Johann Friedrich Fasch, a composer whom Tempesta first introduced to its Philadelphia audiences five seasons ago, and in whose international revival Tempesta has played a pivotal role. Tempesta will perform and record—for release on Chandos records in September 2012— Fasch’s Orchestral Suite in F, FWV K:F1, while presenting four more baroque composers whose music Tempesta has never programmed before. They are Johann Samuel Endler and his Sinfonia in G in its modern premiere; the Concerto Grosso in E minor by Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel, also a modern premiere, Pietro Antonio Locatelli’s tour-de-force Violin Concerto in B-flat, Op 3 No 7, with Emlyn Ngai as soloist, and the fourth suite from Le Festin des Muses (Party of the Muses) by Johann Sigismund Kusser.

Tempesta’s full orchestra of 23 musicians, including horns, flutes, oboes and bassoons, strings and continuo, will perform these works unconducted, lead by Music Directors Gwyn Roberts and Richard Stone, and Concertmaster Emlyn Ngai. Tempesta remains the only rostered orchestra in the US that exclusively performs baroque music unconducted, as was the practice when the music was new.

Tempesta di Mare’s November 2011 release of Volume II of orchestral works by Fasch on Chandos’ Chaconne label (CHAN 0783) was recently named CD of the week by both WETA and the Middle German Radio station MDR-Figaro and continues to garner top ratings in the international music press.

 Steven Zohn and The Party of the Muses

Stephen Zohn, author of Music for a Mixed Taste: Style, Genre, and Meaning in Telemann’s Instrumental Works (Oxford University Press, 2008), the first book-length study of the composer’s music to appear in English, will address our audience before the performances of Party of the Muses.

The concert’s title comes from Kusser’s influential 1700 German publication, titled Le Festin des Muses (the Party of the Muses), the main focus of Dr. Zohn’s pre-concert talk. Hungarian-born Kusser is a particularly interesting figure whose music is now undergoing a revival. Kusser went to France and studied Louis XIV’s court orchestra in Paris. Le Festin des Muses is a result of his field studies that helped establish him as a pioneer of the overture-suite, a German creation based on French theatrical models. Other topics that Zohn will discuss include:

—how the recent discovery that Bach performed many sacred cantatas by his contemporary Stölzel provides further impetus for Stölzel’s modern revival;

—Locatelli’s important, lasting advancements in virtuoso violin technique;

—Endler as one of the early proponents of the modern symphony.

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