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Classical Music

Music In The Making: Celebrating Early Music

Get ready for the Houston Early Music Festival with our latest episode!


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On this week’s episode of Music in the Making, we’re pre-gaming for the Houston Early Music Festival with some of our favorite composers of the Renaissance and Baroque eras!

Anyway, here’s Wonderwall: Portrait of Giovanni Gabrieli

Giovanni Gabrieli – Canzon Septimi Toni No. 2 (1597)
Brass from the Moores School Symphony Orchestra; Philip Moody, conductor
Moores Opera House

Our first selection comes from Giovanni Gabrieli, a composer who helped transition from the Renaissance into the Baroque era. He is most famously known for his long tenure as principal composer for St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. While there, he used the acoustics of the church to his advantage by placing performers in specific locations throughout the sanctuary. This created a new sound experience for the listeners who felt that the music enveloped them in the space. In this performance, listen carefully to the performers who are located in various places throughout the hall.

Antonio Vivaldi – Basson Concerto in E minor, RV 484 (1730’s)
Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra; Benjamin Kamins, bassoon; Larry Rachleff, conductor.
Stude Concert Hall

Antonio Vivaldi is one of the true masterminds behind the concerto genre. Throughout his career, he wrote over 500 concerti in total. Today, most audience members are familiar with his violin concerti. However, he featured other instruments throughout this genre, and in this selection, the solo instrument is a bassoon. This particular concerto is unique, as the bassoon is not commonly seen in solo performances since the Baroque period.

Johann Sebastian Bach – Concerto in D minor for 2 violins, BWV 1043 (1718 – 1720)
Faculty from the Texas Music Festival
Moores Opera House

While it might be said that Vivaldi made the concerto famous, it can also be said that Bach was the one to perfect it. Apart from his Brandenburg Concerti, our next selection is one of Bach’s greatest and most well-known compositions. As you listen, pay attention for the counterpoint and imitation that Bach became so famous for.

Alessandro Scarlatti – Oratorio sopra la Concettione della Beata Vergine (1703)
Moores School Collegium Musicum and members of Ars Lyrica Houston; Matthew Dirst, organ
Moores Opera House

Our final selection is one of only two surviving Larin oratorios by Italian composer Alessandro Scarlatti, father of famous keyboard composer Domenico Scarlatti. This work, translated to Oratorio on the Conception of the Virgin Mary, actually recycles music from one of Alessandro’s earlier oratorios. A few selections in this work have been left out of our program due to time constraints.

This episode originally aired Sunday, February 7th, 2016. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical 91.7.