Apollo's Fire presents "The Splendor of Venice": Kathie Stewart

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Apollo's Fire presents: Splendor of Venice: An Orchestral Extravaganza

OCTOBER 15-18, 2015

Jeannette Sorrell, harpsichord & direction

Olivier Brault, Julie Andrijeski & Johanna Novom, violin soloists
Kathie Stewart, flute
Debra Nagy, oboe
Marc Vallon, bassoon

Thursday, October 15, 7:30pm
Fairlawn Lutheran Church, Fairlawn

Friday, October 16, 8:00pm
Fairmount Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights

Saturday, October 17, 8:00pm
Fairmount Presbyterian Church, Cleveland Heights

Sunday, October 18, 4:00pm
Rocky River Presbyterian Church, Rocky River

After playing to sold-out crowds this summer at the prestigious BBC Proms (London) and Tanglewood, and with rave reviews of the ensemble’s fourth European tour “superbly judged” (The Telegraph, London) and “distinguished by cultivated string tone and buoyancy of rhythm,” (The Financial Times), Apollo’s Fire opens its 24th anniversary season under the baton of Music Director Jeannette Sorrell in four concerts around the region, October 15-18.

Titled “Splendor of Venice:  An Orchestral Extravaganza,” the program explores the large-scale orchestral concerti grossi that were popular in this wealthy Italian city, where aristocrats employed large numbers of the finest musicians of Europe.  The program includes two of the “Concerti per molti strumenti” (Concertos for many instruments) that were the most lavish orchestral pieces of the time.  Apollo’s Fire performs one such piece by the ever-popular Antonio Vivaldi, and another by the neglected but delightful Italian composer, Evaristo dall’Abaco.

“Surely some of those [tour audiences] now are jealous of Cleveland. After all, we in Northeast Ohio get to hear Apollo's Fire not once every few years but seven times.” (The Cleveland Plain Dealer)

For those who think Vivaldi wrote the same concerto 500 times, be prepared to be surprised at this concert!  Complete with horns, oboes, and the bassoon, Vivaldi’s Concerto in F Major “per Molti Strumenti” (RV 569) sounds at times more like Handel’s renowned Water Music than like the Vivaldi of the Four Seasons.  Throughout the evening, Apollo’s Fire players take turns in the spotlight in this showcase of the virtuosic writing of Vivaldi and his Italian contemporaries. 

The program starts off with Jeannette Sorrell’s new arrangement of Marco Uccellini’s Triosonata in D, transformed by Sorrell into a Concerto Grosso for orchestra called “La Bergamasca.”  Sorrell describes this as “a kind of party piece for the orchestra – we’ll be jamming on this Renaissance pop tune, the Bergamasca – violinists Olivier Brault and Johanna Novom are the dueling soloists out front, and the rest of us will join in the fun in various ways.”

Other works on the program include Dall’Abaco’s Concerto in E minor “per più strumenti,” Op. 5 no. 3 featuring Kathie Stewart on traverso (wooden flute) and Debra Nagy on oboe; Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Minor for Two Violins, from L’Estro Armonico (The Cycle of Harmony), RV 578, featuring Julie Andrijeski and Johanna Novom; Pietro Locatelli’s Concerto Grosso in C minor, Op. 1 no. 11; and Vivaldi’s Bassoon Concerto in A minor, RV 497/498, featuring the eminent French bassoonist Marc Vallon.

From concertos for three and four violins, featuring Olivier Brault, Johana Novom, and Julie Andrijewski, to the interplay of Oboe (Debra Nagy) and flute (Kathie Stewart) in Dall’abaco’s “Concerto in E Minor” to the Vivaldi’s “Concerto in E Minor” with Marc Vallon as bassoon soloist – this evening shines the spotlight in turn on multiple musicians, a feat demanding that each player act with the gusto of soloist while demanding a fine-tuned symbiotic and organic relationship with all players.

“After such a whirlwind of a summer, I wanted to begin the season with the same triumph we all felt performing at the Proms – bringing that excitement of our sold-out debut home. This concert is about the love of music – you can feel it in the writing of great composers,” said Sorrell.  “I think these selections showcase the new level the orchestra has achieved – they demand such skill from each soloist, yet everyone in the whole group must function at that level of virtuosity to pull it off – so it really is still about how great music involves us all joining forces to evoke a shared experience. With the most virtuosic concertos, everyone involved must bring that passion to the table, and so it seemed fitting to kick off this new era with an ‘orchestral extravaganza’!”

Pre and Post-Concert Experiences:   

NEW THIS YEAR! - AF unveils an “Afterglow” experience - post-concert parties following many of the season concerts. Chat with your friends and meet the musicians while enjoying wine, sparkling cider, hors d’oeuvres or cheesecake.  Each “Afterglow” is tailored to fit the theme of the concert. 

To kick off the season, each “Splendor of Venice” concert will be followed by an Afterglow with a cash bar serving prosecco or sparkling cider and cannoli.  Also featuring live accordion music!

AF will continue its popular Pre-concert Talks for the 2015-16 Season. Join the large and lively crowd that attends these FREE talks, one hour before the concerts.  The speaker for the “Splendor of Venice” talks is bassoonist Marc Vallon.


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