Wednesday, Feb 1 at 1:15 pm & 6:30 pm
ARTEK: Famous Baroque Arias

ARTEK in concert

Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st St.
Admission: Free

Jessica Tranzillo, soprano and Philip Anderson, tenor will perform Italian baroque arias that are well-known to audiences through modern transcriptions for voice and piano. ARTEK will perform the pieces in their original form, with period instrument strings and continuo.
The repertoire to be performed includes "Se Florinda è fedele", "Già il sole dal Gange" and "Rugiadose, odorose" by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725); "Caro mio ben" by Giuseppe Giordani (ca.1751-1798); "Nel cor più non mi sento" by Giovanni Paisiello (1741-1816); "Amarilli, mia bella" by Giulio Caccini (1545-1618); "O mio dolce ardo" by Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787); and "Vergin, tutt'amor" by Francesco Durante (1684-1755).
They will be accompanied by Robert Mealy, violin; Vita Wallace, violin; Theresa Salomon, viola; Lisa Terry, cello; Grant Herreid, lute; Daniel Swenberg, theorbo; Christa Patton, harp; and Gwendolyn Toth, harpsichord.
The concert will last approximately 35 minutes. TWO PERFORMANCES for this special event! Please use the link at the bottom of the page to pass along this newsletter to your friends who can't attend a midday performance. Here's a second chance to hear ARTEK in the early evening, absolutely for free! What could be better after a long day at work than beautiful Italian arias floating through St. Francis Church?


Wednesday, Feb. 8 at 1:15 pm
Marka Young: Music of Bach and Telemann

Marka Young, violin

Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st St.
Admission: Free

Marka Young performs as a recitalist and chamber musician on the baroque, classical and modern violin. She has been heard throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada, as well as in Belgium, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Ms. Young made her New York debut in 2002 at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, receiving high acclaim. She has appeared as a soloist at the Banff, Blossom, Bach Aria, Music Mountain, Connecticut Early Music and Storm King music festivals. She will perform the Fantasie #1 by G.P. Telemann (1681-1767) for solo violin and the Sonata in C minor, BWV 1017 by J. S. Bach (1685- 1750) for violin and harpsichord together with harpsichordist Gwendolyn Toth. The concert will last approximately 35 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15 at 1:15 pm
Parthenia: 17th-Century Viol Music


Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st St.
Admission: Free

Parthenia, hailed by the New Yorker as "one of the brightest lights in New York's early-music scene" and by the New York Times as "a first-rate period instrument band", is a dynamic ensemble that explores the extraordinary repertory for viols of the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries from Tudor England to the court of Versailles and beyond. Parthenia members Beverly Au, Rosamund Morley, Lawrence Lipnik, and Lisa Terry, viols will perform music by Samuel Scheidt (1587-1654), Andrea Gabrieli. (c1510-1586), Nicolò Corradini (c.1585-1646), John Bull (c. 1562 - 1628). The concert will last approximately 35 minutes.

Wednesday, February 22 at 1:15 pm
Rebel: Baroque and Beyond

Rebel ensemble

Church of St. Francis of Assisi, 135 West 31st St.
Admission: Free

Hailed by the New York Times as "sophisticated and beguiling" and praised by the Los Angeles Times for their "astonishingly vital music-making", the New York-based baroque ensemble Rebel has earned an impressive international reputation, enchanting diverse audiences with their virtuosic, highly expressive and provocative approach to the baroque and classical repertoire. The ensemble has performed at European venues such as the Holland Festival Oude Muziek, the Resonanzen Festival, La Chapelle Royale, Tage Alter Musik Regensburg and the Händel Festspiele, amongst others. Rebel will perform music by Francesco Mancini (1672-1737), Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-1787), Johann Joachim Quantz (1697-1773), and Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767). The concert will last approximately 35 minutes.

ARTEK's new website

Check out ARTEK's re-designed website! Designer Daniel Haskin of  has given us a new, dramatic look that matches the passion and intensity we give our music. Let us know what you think.

Midtown Concerts listings on the web

Wednesday concert listings also available on the Midtown Concerts website:

ARTEK performs Music of Stradella
on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8 pm

James Miller, on cornetto, with Gwendolyn Toth, director. Mr. Miller will be one of the featured soloists in the February 25 concert.

A Musical Casanova
ARTEK director Gwendolyn Toth has devoted herself to championing lost and forgotten masterpieces that deserve to be heard by the concert-going public. ARTEK's upcoming spring concert on Saturday, February 25, will present rarely heard music by the unjustly neglected Italian Baroque composer Alessandro Stradella at St. Michael's Church in Manhattan with a large cast of singers, strings, continuo, and the unusual wind instrument, the cornetto.

Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) led the colorful life of a dissolute Italian gentleman, much like the character portrayed in the recent Disney film "Casanova". As a composer his innovations contributed to the development of the concerto grosso form, the da capo aria, and the use of markings (such as crescendo and decrescendo) to indicate expression in scores. However, his significant musical achievements have been overshadowed by his colorful life. He was known as a womanizer, who dodged assassination attempts on his life by a jealous lover's husband. His exploits caused him to flee to various towns including Turin, Venice, and Genoa where assassins hired by an angry mistress finally caught up with him and killed him. The soap opera story of his life inspired several 19th century Romantic operas. Stradella's music likewise mirrors the passion and drama of his life. An apocryphal account published in France in 1715 claims that paid assassins, upon hearing Stradella's music, were so overcome by the beauty of what they heard that they were unable to complete their mission to kill Stradella. Though the story is likely to be an exaggeration, the reports of the beauty of Stradella's music are completely warranted.

On February 25, ARTEK, under the direction of Gwendolyn Toth, will present arias, vocal ensembles, and instrumental sinfonias from three of Stradella's masterpieces: the serenata Il Barcheggio, the cantata La Forza delle Stelle, and the Cantata per il Santissimo Natale. Il Barcheggio , written in 1682 to celebrate an aristocratic wedding, holds a special position in Stradella's repertoire. Probably written for outdoor performance, it uses the ancient wind instrument, the cornetto, a wooden instrument of ebony with a trumpet-like mouthpiece that produces a substantially mellower tone than a brass natural trumpet. The cornetto plays throughout Il Barcheggio , lending a festive, celebratory air to the piece, and participating in the arias as an instrumental soloist with a sophisticated complexity and artistry much like the obbligato instrumental music in the cantatas of J.S. Bach. Il Barcheggio is also notable as Stradella's last work before his untimely death by murder as the age of 40. Cornetto soloist James Miller will give a special pre-concert lecture at 7 pm on the history of the cornetto and its use in Stradella's serenata. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Historic Brass Society.

The Cantata per il Santissimo Natale has been previously performed by ARTEK in 1995 and 1996, at the Kaye Playhouse, where reviewer James Oestreich of the New York Times expressed his hope that ARTEK will "revive it with some regularity, and it will become a welcome fixture of the holiday scene". The February 25 performance will include an outstanding dramatic aria for bass, and an unusual and atmospheric concerto grosso sinfonia, with a concertino ensemble of two violins, harpsichord, and lute.
The final fascinating work on the program will be the first American performance of the cantata La Forza delle Stelle, an early work by Stradella. La Forza delle Stelle is one of the earliest pieces to use the concerto grosso format for the accompanying strings. The music is in the style of mid 17th-century Italian Baroque: through-composed arias sound more like Monteverdi or Cavalli than Scarlatti, as opposed to Il Barcheggio which shows Stradella's mature vocal style, quite similar to Scarlatti and Handel (Handel is known to have "borrowed" a number of melodies from Stradella, of course). La Forza delle Stelle has duets that are reminiscent of the great vocal duet, "Pur ti miro", that ends Monteverdi's Incoronazione di Poppea . And the sinfonias for concerto grosso strings are fascinating for their use of chromaticism and harmonic color.

Performers for ARTEK include the singers Jessica Tranzillo, soprano; Barbara Hollinshead, mezzo-soprano; Drew Minter, countertenor; Philip Anderson and Michael Brown, tenors; Paul Shipper, bass; continuo players Grant Herreid, lute; Daniel Swenberg, theorbo; Christa Patton, harp; and a seven-member string ensemble led by Robert Mealy, principal violin. Gwendolyn Toth will direct from the harpsichord.
Tickets to the 8 pm concert are $30 (preferred seating) and $20 (regular seating). Students and seniors are $10. All seats are reserved. Tickets are available in advance with a credit card by calling (212) 967-9157; with Paypal on ARTEK's website,; or at the door on the evening of the concert.

The pre-concert lecture begins at 7 pm in the Chapel at St. Michael's Church. The lecture is free to all ticket holders.

St. Michael's Church is located at 99th Street and Amsterdam Avenue. Entrance will be through the Amsterdam Avenue doors beginning at 6:45 on the evening of the concert.


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ARTEK Early Music Ensemble in NYC
The Art of the Early Keyboard, Inc.
170 West 73rd Street, #3C  |  New York, NY 10023

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