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Early Music Concerts 2010-2011

Early Music Concerts 2010-2011: (US) The Pergolesi Project: A Celebration of the Pergolesi 300th Anniversary Year (2010 Oct. 30-31)

Contributed by Admin on Oct 22, 2010

Salon/Sanctuary Concerts presents “The Pergolesi Project”, a weekend festival on October 30 and 31 celebrating the 300th anniversary of the Neapolitan composer who died at the age of 26.  Listeners will have a special chance to hear recent discoveries obtained from the Fondazione Pergolesi Spontini in Jesi, the composer’s birthplace, as work continues in Italy toward a National Pergolesi edition.  Among the discoveries is a sacred cantata, La Maddalena al Sepolcro.

The Project, with Sinfonia New York chamber players and soloists, will present sacred music on Saturday, October 30, in the Church of the Epiphany with mezzo Meg Bragle and secular music on Sunday, October 31 in the Abigail Adams Smith Auditorium with soprano Jessica Gould.  All works are verifiably by Pergolesi himself -- one obstacle for any Pergolesi endeavor is the enormous number of fakes, inferior works assembled after the composer’s death as unscrupulous music purveyors attempted to cash in on Pergolesi’s posthumous fame. 

Fascinatingly, La Maddalena al Sepolcro, to be sung by Ms. Bragle on the 30th, uses the same music as Pergolesi's secular cantata Orfeo, to be sung by Ms. Gould on the 31st.  The latter cantata is among Pergolesi’s last works, written, at the same time as the masterpiece Stabat Mater, while he lay dying. It presents the Orpheus story just short of its tragic element, and ends at a moment of triumph just as the protagonist thinks he has retrieved his love from Hades.  La Maddalena shows the Magdalene weeping at the tomb of the dead Christ and anticipating the Resurrection.  With the same music, Pergolesi sets a triumph over death story in both its sacred and secular, Classical and Christian permutations.  It is both chilling and moving to think of this young brilliant composer tackling this theme while succumbing to his own mortality, and it will be fascinating to hear both interpretations in the last weekend of October.

Visite the GEMS *Salon/Sanctuary Concerts web page for more information.