ARTEK, based in New York City and with a reputation as one of America’s top early music ensembles, presents its 32nd season of concerts of musically significant, rarely-heard repertoire performed on period instruments in historical style, featuring the finest early music artists.
ARTEK Spring Concert
Stylus Fantasticus: The Genius of Biber
Time: 8 pm
Tickets: $50 & $30 (students & seniors $40 & $20).
Available from Gotham Early Music Scene (GEMS)
Online at: gemsny.org
Telephone: (212) 866-0468
ARTEK’s spring concert, Stylus Fantasticus: The Genius of Biber, features violinist Cynthia Freivogel in virtuoso chamber music by Heinrich Biber (1644-1704). The second half of the 17th century saw a great flowering of the repertoire for solo violin led in large part by the advances of the Salzburg violinist Heinrich Biber, often called the greatest violinist of the 17th century, who pioneered the use of scordatura tuning and affective rhetorical devices in order to exploit every expressive possibility of the violin. His music is the epitome of the “stylus fantasticus” or “fantastic style,” described by baroque author Athanasius Kircher: “It is the most free and unrestrained method of composing, it is bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject, it was instituted to display genius and to teach the hidden design of harmony and the ingenious composition of harmonic phrases and fugues.”
Ms. Freivogel, principal violinist of ARTEK, has a stellar reputation as a soloist and leader of period instrument orchestras. She currently resides in the Netherlands, where she performs with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, New Philharmonie Utrecht, and Hopkinson Trio. In America, she has performed with Philharmonia Baroque, Handel and Haydn Society, and Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. Also featured on the concert are two of ARTEK’s outstanding vocal soloists: bass-baritone Peter Becker and countertenor Ryland Angel.
The program includes two solo vocal cantatas: Mr. Becker will be featured in Biber’s Nisi Dominus, scored for solo bass, solo violin, and basso continuo; and Mr. Angel will be featured in Salve Regina, scored for countertenor, solo viola da gamba, and basso continuo. Both Mr. Becker and Mr. Angel along with Ms. Freivogel will be featured in the finale of the program, Biber’s rarely heard cantata Laetatus Sum, a tour de force for solo violin, two solo voices and string ensemble.
Other music on the program includes the Sonata III in F major from the 8 Sonatae Violino Solo (1681) and the scordatura Sonata XV for the Coronation of the Virgin from the Rosary Sonatas (c.1676), both for solo violin and basso continuo; the Serenade a5 Die Nachtwächter for strings, basso continuo and solo bass voice, and the Sonata a 6 Die Pauernkirchfahrt for strings and basso continuo. In addition to Ms. Freivogel, Mr. Becker, and Mr. Angel, the ensemble includes Vita Wallace and Theresa Salomon, violins; Arnie Tanimoto, violone & viola da gamba; Motomi Igarashi and John Moran, violas da gamba; Daniel Swenberg, theorbo; and ARTEK director Gwendolyn Toth, organ.
Additional information on ARTEK:
ARTEK, founded by director Gwendolyn Toth in 1986, features America’s finest singers and instrumentalists in performances of 17th and 18th century repertoire from Italy and Germany. Audiences love ARTEK concerts for their exciting, dramatic performances of baroque music, with compelling musical settings of beautiful poetry and infectious dance rhythms that infuse the performances with vitality and spirit. In addition to acclaimed performances of I’ll Never See the Stars Again, highlights of past seasons include standing-ovation performances to sell-out crowds at the Regensburg (Germany) Tage Alter Musik Festival (1998 and 2003) and debut performances at the prestigious Boston Early Music Festival (2003) and the Berkeley Early Music Festival (2010). ARTEK toured internationally from 1997 to 2002 with the Mark Morris Dance Group, visiting major venues in the United Kingdom, Italy, and Canada as well as more than 50 of America’s premier theaters. ARTEK’s recordings of Monteverdi’s Orfeo , Monteverdi’s Madrigals Book V and other early Italian repertoire have been widely praised; the ensemble’s 2017 recording project is Monteverdi’s Madrigals, Book VII. (www.artekearlymusic.org)
About the featured artists
Cynthia Miller Freivogel is the leader and concertmaster of the ARTEK chamber orchestra (New York) and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado. She has been a leader for Concerto Köln, and Joshua Rifkin’s Bach Ensemble at the Stockholm and Antwerp Early Music Festivals, as well as in the Hague with Collegium Musicum den Haag and Musica Poetica. She has also worked with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, the New Philharmonie Utrecht, and Handel & Haydn Society (Boston), and is a member of the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra (San Francisco). She recently founded the Hopkinson Trio in the Netherlands. Ms. Freivogel was a member and concertmaster of Brandywine Baroque in Wilmington, Delaware, where she has made several recordings under the label Picks, including Corelli Op. 5. She was a founding member of the Novello Quartet and the Quartet Coriolan, both of which were devoted to performing string quartets of Haydn and his contemporaries on period instruments. As a soloist, Ms. Freivogel has performed the entire Telemann Fantasias and Biber Mystery Sonatas, including a performance at the Berkeley Early Music Festival. She regularly plays 17th century music, including concerts with historic organs in England and Trevi nel Lazio, Italy. Ms. Freivogel has also performed at Boston Early Music Festival, Colorado Music Festival Orchestra in Boulder, Tanglewood Music Festival, San Luis Obispo Mozart Festival, and with the State Orchestra of Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Born on St. Cecilia’s Day, the British countertenor Ryland Angel has built an international reputation on both the opera and concert stage, in repertoire ranging from the baroque era to new operatic commissions throughout Europe and the USA. He has performed with William Christie, René Jacobs, Ivor Bolton, Nicholas McGegan, Roy Goodman, Christophe Rousset, Philippe Herreweghe, Christophe Coin, Gabriel Garrido, Cantus Köln, Le Concert Spirituel, Le Parlement de Musique, Ensemble La Fenice, Les Folies Françaises, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra of San Francisco, as well as ARTEK. Mr. Angel has performed on over 50 recordings of baroque and contemporary music and additionally with Bobby McFerrin, and received a Grammy nomination in 2006. He composed the score and sang the title track of the forthcoming Warner Bros. documentary film The Mystery of Dante. He is also featured on film soundtracks of Le Petit Prince, Le Peau, Henry IV, Machete, and the PBS TV special Heavenly Voices.
Bass-baritone Peter Becker has performed throughout the USA, Europe, Asia, and South America in repertoire ranging from medieval to contemporary. Theater credits include performances with Canadian Opera Company, Macerata Festival, Teatro Opera di Roma, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Glimmerglass Opera, the 21st Century Consort, and the Broadway show Band in Berlin. Guest appearances include those with Tafelmusik, Smithsonian Chamber Players, Magnificat, the Newberry Consort, Folger Consort, Portland Baroque, ARTEK, and Mr. Becker has performed at a number of festivals including Spoleto (Italy and USA), Caramoor, Ravinia, Aldeburgh, Utrecht, Hong Kong, Ravenna, Jerusalem, Macao, Miyazaki, and Saratoga. As a member of Hudson Shad, he has performed with such distinguished conductors as Kurt Masur (New York Philharmonic), Zubin Mehta (Los Angeles Philharmonic), Michael Tilson Thomas (San Francisco Symphony), Charles Dutoit (Philadelphia Orchestra), Dennis Russell Davies (Austrian Radio Orchestra, and the Bruckner Orchester Linz), Bruno Bartoletti (Orchestra Regionale Toscana), and Ingo Metzmacher (Orchestra Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia).
Recognized as one of America’s leading performers on early keyboard instruments, ARTEK Founder and Director Gwendolyn Toth performs with equal ease on the harpsichord, organ, and fortepiano. Her interpretations have been acclaimed for their spirit and intelligence, and her technique is founded on historical performance principles of fingering, articulation, and phrasing. She has been heard in concerts throughout North America, Europe and the Far East, and on radio networks in Holland, Germany, France, and America’s National Public Radio. She has performed in festivals in Boston, Berkeley and Indianapolis, USA; Utrecht, Holland; Regensburg, Germany; Edinburgh, Scotland; Trevi nel Lazio Italy, and the Czech Republic. As a soloist and recording artist on historical organs, Ms. Toth tours each summer in Europe, performing on organs such as the 1434 organ in Sion, Switzerland; the 1509 organ in Trevi, Italy; the 1531 organ in Krewerd, Netherlands; the 1649 organ in Zeerijp, Netherlands; the 1696 Arp Schnitger organ in Noordbroek, Netherlands; and the 1714 organ in St. Michael’s Church, Vienna, among many others. Ms. Toth also has an active career as a conductor of historical performance ensembles, orchestras, and opera.