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New Vintage Baroque, Damask Ensemble Tour "Fated Lovers" Program, Premiere Gregory Spears Cantata 'Virginiana'

By Jaime Prisco j.prisco@classicalite.com on Feb 19, 2015 09:15 PM EST
Fated Lovers Produced by Abigail McKee, executive director of San Diego's Bach Collegium, "Fated Lovers" promises a unique international collaboration between NVB and DE. (Photo : Courtesy of Ms. McKee)

New Vintage Baroque, a period-instrument ensemble from New York, and Damask Ensemble, a vocal quartet from The Hague, Netherlands, recently completed a successful IndieGogo crowdfunding campaign for an exciting project.

Just how successful?

Well, these two groups raised $20,235 in donations, supported by some 300 individual donors.

It was an important initiative.

Together, NVB and DE were able to commission Gregory Spears to write Virginiana, a 25-minute cantata for H.I.P. ensemble and voices set to the love poetry (and a bit of prose) of one Robert Bolling, Jr.

Composed, in part, during Spears' residency at Colonial Williamsburg's Rockefeller Library, the music incorporates three short melodies transcribed from Bolling’s journals.

Gregory Spears
(Press Photo)
Gregory Spears writes music for modern and period instruments that blends aspects of romanticism, minimalism, and early music.

Virginiana will be premiered in a program exploring themes of love and loss (i.e. "Fated Lovers") alongside works by Purcell, Montéclair, Böhm and Handel.

Even better?

New Vintage Baroque’s resident monologist Doug Balliett will narrate the segues between works--exploring the various star-crossed affairs that link the program together.

“New Vintage Baroque is different," says Balliett.

"All of our concerts are painstakingly crafted around a concept (be it love, vice, a composer, a time period) and through monologue, storytelling, history and anecdote, the idea behind the concert is fully explored."

"Our concerts start with music," he notes further, "but put a premium on thoughtful narrative and the importance of asking questions."

New Vintage Baroque
(Press Photo)
New Vintage Baroque performances fuse together new commissions with music of the Baroque, asking audiences to examine their relationship with both the past and the present.

The Damask Ensemble employs a similar view.

Scott Mello, co-director of Damask, says: “This collaboration was born of a series of shared beliefs: that music tells universal stories in timeless language; that historical instruments are more than prototypes for their modern counterparts, and that their artistic merit should be celebrated; and that audiences thrive when presented with creative, inventive, and imaginative programming.”

Damask Ensemble
(Press Photo)
Damask Ensemble is a vocal quartet that presents a diverse repertoire of chamber music in both concert and theatrical settings.

The collaboration between NVB and DE begins in the Netherlands on Feb. 20 and will travel to New York on Feb. 26.

”Fated Lovers” will move through multiple Manhattan venues until March 1.

Click here to find out more information about performance locations and, of course, to purchase your tickets.

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TagsNew Vintage Baroque, Damask Ensemble, Fated Lovers, World Premiere, Gregory Spears, Virginiana

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