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The Folger Spotlight

ENCORES: A selection from "Sonata #3 in F Major" performed by Folger Consort (2015)

Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness
Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darkness

Folger Public Programs is pleased to present ENCORES, a weekly online series highlighting past performances and recalling the rich history of programming on the historic Folger stage. As many arts and cultural institutions remain closed during this time, these ENCORES provide a way to connect and revisit the breadth of Folger offerings with a wider audience.

ENCORES presents

Folger Consort
“Sonata #3 in F Major”
by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
Performed as part of Ships, Clocks, and Stars: Music of Telemann and Other Baroque Masters
Recorded at Folger Theatre, April 2015
Learn more about the concert on Folgerpedia

Performed by:

  • Krista Bennion Feeney, Violin
  • Robert Eisenstein, Viol de gamba
  • Joseph Gascho, Harpsichord

Explore the accompanying exhibition on Folgerpedia.

Read the introduction by violinist Krista Bennion Feeney:

Hello and welcome to Folger ENCORES. I’m Krista Bennion Feeney and I’m very happy to be able to speak with you today. The Folger has been sharing selections with you from their plays, music, talks, and readings in this ENCORES series. This week, we are excited to bring you a selection from the 2015 Folger Consort program, “Ships, Clocks, and Stars: Music of Telemann and Other Baroque Masters.” I joined the concert small chamber ensemble for these concerts, playing the violin. From that concert, we’d like to share an excerpt from my performance of Biber’s “Sonata #3 in F Major,” and it’s from his 1681 collection of violin sonatas.

So, now I’m going to talk a little bit about the music that you’re about to hear. We weren’t able to play the whole excerpt because it would take too long for this format, so I’ll just give you a brief description of the beginning of the Sonata—which you won’t hear—because it sets the stage for this whole adventure. So it begins with these evocative Alpine horn calls, and if you’ve ever been in the mountains and there was the right configuration of peaks, you can call out and mountains will echo your voice, and I believe he is utilizing this in the beginning of this Sonata, so it sets the stage. You know you’re in the Alpines, and he worked in Salzburg. And then these sort of dance horn call snippets are followed by a beautiful, lovely, simple aria—basically a song sung by the violin only 16 bars long, followed by two variations, and they’re very cheerful and very, very springlike, very full of life and happiness.

Then this is where the excerpt picks up that you are going to hear. And it picks up at the beginning of a kind of rhapsodic flight of fancy from the violin. And then this is followed by another set of variations introduced by the harpsichord and the gamba, played by Joe Gascho and Bob Eisenstein. And it’s a very simple static bass-line, four bars long, repeating over and over and over till the end of the piece, practically. This is the part where I never know what’s going to happen because—and I don’t remember this particular performance in great detail, but I just remember it was very exciting and whatever happened had never happened before, it’s never happened since. This whole piece is a kind of Alpine adventure in the mountains, hiking in the mountains, and just seeing gorgeous vistas and being with someone you love, because there’s very many declarations of love, to me, very tender moments, very loving moments in this piece.

Please be sure to join us again for these weekly episodes of ENCORES, highlighting all that Folger has to offer. Thank you.

Folger ENCORES, red theater seats fading into darknessCheck back each Friday for a new “from the archives” performance, introduced by some of our favorite artists, showcasing the best of Folger TheatreFolger ConsortO.B. Hardison Poetry, and lectures.