https://www.wfmt.com/2018/09/06/new-comma-baroque/ On September 6, 2018, WFMT presented New Comma Baroque‘s program ‘The Twilight Kingdom‘ WFMT’s Impromptu hosted by Kerry Frumkin. Emmanuel Episcopal Church of La Grange‘s artists-in-residence New Comma Baroque return in a special program of rare gems from the twilight years of the viol: from Gottfried Mente and Christian Wilhelm Podbielski to the so-called ‘last gambist Carl Friedrich Abel, New Comma Baroque‘s Phillip Serna and Emily Katayama present a virtuosic exploration of late repertoire for the viola da gamba – including a newly-discovered work by Abel found in Poland in 2016!
On June 1st 2018, Black Tulip presented a special program for Chicago’s Musicians Club of Women in the beautiful Buchanan Chapel in Fourth Presbyterian Church’s Genevieve and Wayne Gratz Center. Black Tulip’s Josefien Stoppelenburg, Mirja Lorenz, Phillip W. Serna & Joel Spears performed dramatic cantatas and songs for solo voice and obbligato instruments alongside virtuosic instrumental works for recorders, viols, and theorbo by Alessandro Scarlatti, Tarquinio Merula, Barbara Strozzi, Julie Pinel and George Frideric Handel.
Rudolph Dolmetsch (1906-1942), second child of Early Music pioneer Arnold Dolmetsch, was an accomplished composer, keyboardist, and is regarded as the first modern viola da gamba virtuoso. After entering the Royal College of Music in 1936, Rudolph’s compositions turned from a focus on smaller chamber and solo works towards larger symphonic compositions. His Concertino for Viola da Gamba and Small Orchestra was completed April 21, 1941 at Elbridge Gun Site, Chichester. Tragically, it was to be among his last works as he drowned at sea when the Ceramic was torpedoed off the Azores by German forces in 1942. The Concertino was first realized by Leyton Ring for publication in 1992, received its world premiere in Newcastle, UK in 1993, published by PRB Productions in 1995 and later received its U.S. premiere by New Comma Baroque‘s Phillip Serna in 2010.
The Spirit of Gambo – a Chicago Consort of Viols Returns with a Special Program in Honor of Narodowego Święta Niepodległości/ Polish National Independence Day
The 17th century was filled with dramatic political and artistic turmoil in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. From the Dresden-influenced Chapel Royal in Warsaw to the rise of Poland’s own native masters, instrumental music began its ascension as evidenced through the viola bastarda compositions of Adam Jarzębski. Beginning his career at the court of John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg in Berlin, Jarzębski would become a major musical figure in the courts of Sigismund III Vasa and Władysław IV. Examining this unique and virtually unknown repertoire, the Spirit of Gambo presents a virtuoso program of music from Jarzębski’s 1627 Canzoni é Concerti.
The Spirit of Gambo is a Chicago-area viol consort founded by Ken Perlow, Phillip Serna & Russell Wagner in 2006. We are a versatile chamber group focusing on the rich consort repertoire for violas da gamba – from early works of the 15th-century, to the rich English consort traditions of 16th & 17th-century, to varied continental styles and complex virtuosic works, to challenging contemporary music for viols as well. Our membership consists of prominent historically-informed performance scholars and pedagogues alongside performers representing a variety of period-instrument ensembles around the greater Midwest.
“I Doe not studie Eloquence, or profess Musicke, although I doe love Sence, and affect Harmony: my Profession being, as my Education hath beene, Armes, the onely effeminate part of me, hath beene Musicke; which in mee hath beene alwayes Generous, because never Mercenarie. To prayse Musicke, were to say, the Sunne is bright. To extoll my selfe, would name my labors vaine glorious. Onely this, my studies are far from servile imitations, I robbe no others inventions, I take no Italian Note to an English dittie, or filch fragments of Songs to stuffe out my volumes. There are mine own Phansies expressed by my proper Genius, which if thou dost dislike, let me see thine…”
– Captaine Tobias Hume, Composer of the the Spirit of Gambo, from the Musicall Humours (1605) –
Tulipmania -Music, Art, Politics, and Society in the Dutch Golden Age
Black Tulip presents ‘Tulipmania’ May 1st 2017 on Live from WFMT at WFMT’s Levin Performance Studio at the Renée Crown Public Media Center. Tulipmania looks at the cultural and political events during the peak of Dutch power during the 17th and early 18th centuries. The Dutch protestant north was a bastion of religious tolerance and personal freedom, while the rest of the continent was embroiled in civil wars, and the disastrous 30-Year’s War. The new-found prosperity of this emerging capitalist society encouraged the development of the arts, and provided a large and receptive market for the musical and artistic productions of other countries as well. Experience music of native composers as well as foreign composers who were well known is the Low Countries. Tulipmania was a period in the Dutch Golden Age during which contract prices for bulbs of the recently introduced tulip reached extraordinarily high levels and then suddenly collapsed.
On November 9th, 2016, Cleveland’s WCLV 104.9 broadcast Burning River Baroque’s Music from the Western Reserve program “Twisted Fate: Famed and Forgotten Female Composers” on their program Cleveland Ovations:
The history of western art music predominantly focuses on the lives and works of male teachers, composers, and performers. In eras when women rarely had access to the same educational and professional opportunities as their male colleagues, it can be easy to presume that women were simply not as productive and successful in the field. A closer look at history, however, reveals that some women in the past were able to rise above the gender restrictions placed on them and achieved great success as professional musicians. Others led more private professional lives cloistered in abbeys and composing for their fellow sisters. Burning River Baroque will present a program that blends works of both the famous and forgotten female composers from antiquity to the present, including Hildegard von Bingen, Jacquet de la Guerre, Princess Anna Amalia, Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Barbara Strozzi, Isabella Leonarda, and Martha Bishop. “Twisted Fate: Famed and Forgotten Female Composers” will explore the ways in which historical circumstances twisted the lives of some women into the spotlight and others into the shadows as well as their diverse portrayals of female characters.
Performers: Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano, Malina Rauschenfels, Phillip W. Serna, viola da gamba & Paula Maust, harpsichord & organ
Performers: Mary Anne Ballard (Baltimore Consort, Galileo’s Daughters, et al), Russell Bookout, James Lambert (Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Catacoustic Consort), Eric Miller (Wisconsin Baroque Ensemble), Gail Ann Schroeder (Baroque and Beyond, Columbia Baroque, et al), & Phillip Serna (New Comma Baroque, Black Tulip, et al), bass viols
Black Tulip presented ‘Let Us Howl!’ May 11th, 2015 on Live from WFMT at WFMT’s Levin Performance Studio in an exciting and virtuosic program of works by Bartoloméo da Selma y Salaverde, Carolus Hacquart, George Frideric Handel, Robert Johnson, Nicola Matteis, Henry Purcell, Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe, Georg Philipp Telemann, and Antonio Vivaldi!