(WASHINGTON, DC) – For its annual holiday concert, Folger Consort, the early music ensemble in residence at Folger Shakespeare Library, presents twelve performances of O Magnum Mysterium: Christmas Music from Renaissance Spain in the Folger’s Elizabethan Theatre, beautifully decorated for the season, December 9-18, 2011. The program features ethereal motets, brilliant instrumental pieces, and spirited seasonal peasant songs music from the later 16th and early 17th centuries—Spain’s Golden Age—by composers Victoria, Morales, Guerrero, and others. Liturgical works are complemented by instrumental works of these great masters and other composers.
Folger Consort artistic co-director Robert Eisenstein (viol, violin) is joined by celebrated wind ensemble Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, vocalists Roger Isaacs, Rosa Lamoreaux, François Loup, William Sharp, and Aaron Sheehan, and organist Joseph Gascho.
Individual tickets are $45 and may be purchased at the Folger box office, 202.544.7077, or online at www.folger.edu/consort. Discounts are available for students, senior citizens, military personnel, teachers, groups, and Folger members. In addition, a Group Special, consisting of four tickets to the performance on Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 7:30pm or Thursday, Dec. 15 at 7:30pm, is available by phone order only for $140—a $40 savings off the regular ticket price.
Folger Consort’s survey of Spanish Renaissance Advent and Christmas repertory highlights the rich variety of musical expression in Spanish music. According to Folger Consort artistic co-director Robert Eisenstein, “The composers whose music is included in the program were capable of a wide range of affects and were adept at depicting fine nuances of emotion. They drew on many sources for their various musical styles, including the lively rhythms of Iberian folk music, learned Flemish polyphony, and a generous helping of Italian expressivity, declamation, and dance rhythm.”
“Our vocal and instrumental forces, while not those of a large Cathedral cappella, are appropriate for the music at hand,” said Eisenstein. “You will hear vocal music, with and without instrumental doublings, the double reed and brass instruments so characteristic of Spanish practice, and an ensemble of curiosos ministriles—skillful minstrels on strings and softer winds.”
The program takes its name from a setting by Victoria of “O Magnum Mysterium,” a responsorial chant from the medieval matin services of Christmas, which opens the concert.
Piffaro, the Renaissance Band, is an award-winning wind ensemble lauded by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “an extraordinarily versatile group of musicians.” Since its formation in 1980, Piffaro has achieved international acclaim for its highly polished performances across the U.S. and around the world. Their most recent international tour took them to Bolivia in 2010 for the prestigious International Renaissance and Baroque Festival. Under the direction of Joan Kimball and Robert Wiemken, Piffaro produces its own concert series in its home city of Philadelphia each year and boasts an impressive discography. In 2003 Piffaro was awarded Early Music America’s annual “Early Music Brings History Alive” Award. Learn more at www.piffaroplaza.com.
On Friday, December 9 at 7pm, artistic co-director Robert Eisenstein leads a lively pre-concert discussion in the Elizabethan Theatre at the Folger. Admission is free with a ticket for the evening performance.
ABOUT FOLGER CONSORT & FOLGER SHAKESPEARE LIBRARY:
Folger Consort, the early music ensemble in residence at Folger Shakespeare Library since 1977, presents music from the 12th through 21st centuries, with a focus on the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Artistic Directors Robert Eisenstein and Christopher Kendall are joined by guest artists, including the world’s leading vocalists and instrumentalists in the field of early music. Folger Consort was named Best Classical Chamber Ensemble at the 2009, 2010, and 2011 Washington Area Music Awards. With recordings and early music seminars, Folger Consort continues to add to the interest in and knowledge of medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music. Janet Alexander Griffin serves as Artistic Producer and Donnajean Ward is the Folger Consort Manager. For more information, visit www.folger.edu/consort.
Folger Shakespeare Library is a renowned center for scholarship, learning, culture, and the arts. Home to the world’s largest Shakespeare collection and a primary repository for research material from the early modern period (1500-1750), Folger Shakespeare Library is an internationally recognized research library offering advanced scholarly programs in the humanities; a national leader in how Shakespeare is taught in grades K-12; and an award-winning producer of cultural and arts programs—theater, music, poetry, exhibits, lectures, and family programs. A gift to the American people from industrialist Henry Clay Folger, Folger Shakespeare Library—located one block east of the U.S. Capitol—opened in 1932 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more at www.folger.edu.
TICKETS & INFORMATION:
What: O Magnum Mysterium: Christmas Music from Renaissance Spain with Folger Consort and Piffaro
When: December 9-18, 2011. Twelve performances: Dec. 9 at 8pm, Dec. 10 at 5pm & 8pm, Dec. 11 at 2pm & 5pm, Dec. 14 at 7:30pm, Dec. 15 at 7:30pm, Dec. 16 at 8pm, Dec. 17 at 2pm & 5pm, and Dec. 18 at 2pm & 5pm.
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library’s Elizabethan Theatre, 201 East Capitol St., SE, Washington, DC 20003
Tickets: $45, available at the Folger box office, 202.544.7077, or online at www.folger.edu/consort
Metro: Capitol South (blue/orange lines) or Union Station (red line)
Parking: Limited street parking in Capitol Hill neighborhood
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