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Baroque Ensemble brings music ‘full of character’ to audience

Warm, colorful sonatas and quartets – some of the best chamber music of the 18th century – played on instruments of old is what Music’s Re-creation: The Baroque Ensemble will be offering concert-goers Sunday at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley.

Says one of the internationally acclaimed performers John Dornenburg, “Baroque music has an emotional, melodic and even intellectual appeal to concert-goers that has not been diminished by time.”

Using such words to describe the sounds as “rich and reedy,” “full of character,” and even “folk-like,” he says, “The swiftly changing musical moods from one movement to the next creates a fabulously dramatic presentation.”



The program focuses on chamber music composed in Germany and France during the time of Johann Sebastian Bach and will include compositions by that master, as well as Telemann and Guillemain.

Baroque is defined as the musical period following the Renaissance, extending roughly from 1600 to 1750. “Ensemble” simply means a united performance by a group. But what happens Sunday goes far beyond such dry definitions.




Ken Hardin, artistic director of Twins Cities Concert Association, which is sponsoring this concert, says it’s not only the kind of music of this period that ended with Bach and Handel, but also the instruments themselves that make hearing this kind of music so special – instruments like the baroque flute with only one key and the viola da gamba, a cousin of the cello.

“The instruments the ensemble will be playing,” he says, “are different from modern ones. The strings in the string instruments are made of gut, for example, producing a much warmer sound than those of steel, which produce a brighter, bolder sound that can fill concert halls.

“That’s, in fact, why we decided to do it at Peace Lutheran that has seats in a half circle, with no one seat being very far from stage” – an intimate setting that replicates to some degree the saloons and small drawing rooms of the 1700s, where most music, says Hardin, was performed as entertainment for royalty. “That’s actually where the musical term ‘chamber music’ comes from.”

Music’s Re-creation was formed 25 years ago when a group of musicians met while studying music at the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Holland. Turnover has been a CEO’s delight. Indeed, two of the original members (Dornenburg and Louise Carslake) remain, and the group has changed those in the violinist and harpsichordist positions only once in 25 years. Now located in San Francisco, the group has traveled all over Europe and America and has produced seven CDs, which will be available for sale.

Concert-goers will have the opportunity to ask questions of the musicians before the concert begins and to see the instruments, such as the harpsichord, up close. A reception follows the performance.

Past president and present board member of Twin Cities Concert Association Joan Goddard says of the concert series (which is every third Sunday of the month at one of two venues), “This is the best thing going up here. You’re in an intimate setting, only 10 feet away from a magnificent artist. It’s a fabulous experience.”

Looking ahead, Twin Cities Concert Association will sponsor a benefit concert at Peace Lutheran Church on Sunday, Jan. 30, at 3 p.m., with the Pacific Lutheran Choir singing. Donations will go to benefit TCCA and Peace Lutheran. No preconcert forum will take place at this event.

To know and go:

What: The Baroque Ensemble

When: Sunday, concert at 2 p.m.

1:15 p.m. preconcert forum with Dr. Aileen James

Reception following concert

Where: Peace Lutheran Church, 828 West Main St., Grass Valley

How much: Tickets: $14 general, $12 senior (60+), children 5-17 free with adult supervision. Available at Record Connection, Mountain Mail + or at the door on the day of the concert

More information: 470-9454

Twin Cities’ upcoming events

On Feb. 20, the program is called Petite Panache, which provides many local orchestral musicians an opportunity for small ensemble and solo work. Petite Panache will feature Ken Hardin and Aileen James, piano; joined by Phil Richardson, horn; and David Thorp, viola. The works of Brahms, Schumann, Hindemith and more will be featured. This will be a brilliant showcase of the finest community musicians and is always a favorite.

March 20, Tien Hseih, piano, will perform an all-Liszt program. Tien is a recent prizewinner of the Los Angeles Liszt Competition. She has been acclaimed for her exceptional temperament, personal expressivity and insight.

April 17, TCCA presents the Cypress String Quartet. Since its inception in 1996, the CSQ has performed to great acclaim worldwide and has been praised by the Los Angeles Times for “musical astuteness and virtuoso resources.”

May 15 concludes the concert season with a community extravaganza. Our local Orchestre Panache, conducted by Ken Hardin, will perform a program of orchestral works including a Schubert Mass featuring the orchestra alongside Sierra College/Nevada County Campus Choir (also conducted by Ken Hardin). This will be a concert to remember!

For more information, call 470-9454 or visit our Web site at http://www.tcca.net

– The Union staff


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