Agave Baroque with Countertenor Reginald Mobley Perform PEACE IN OUR TIME
The San Francisco Early Music Society's 2017-18 concert season continues the weekend of February 2 with three concerts by AGAVE BAROQUE with guest countertenor Reginald Mobley performing "music of love and loss in the shadow of the Thirty Years' War" (1618 - 1648), works by Johann Christoph Bach, Matthias Weckmann, David Pohle, Johann Pachelbel and more.
Agave Baroque performs at 8 p.m. Friday, February 2 at First Presbyterian Church in Palo Alto; at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 3 at St. John's Presbyterian Church in Berkeley; and at 4 p.m. Sunday, February 4 at Church of the Advent in San Francisco. Individual tickets from $15 to $45 as well as season subscription packages are available for purchase online at sfems.org.
"The year 2018 is the 400th anniversary of the beginning of the Thirty Years' War," the ensemble states in a program note. "This war still stands as one of the longest and most destructive in European history. A bloody conflict between Protestant and Catholic regions in the Holy Roman Empire, it caused roughly 8 million deaths and a nearly 40% decrease in the overall population in German states."
"But for all its horrors, the Thirty Years' War produced an outpouring of some of the richest, most passionate and deeply felt musical works of the Baroque," added violinist Aaron Westman. "One of the results of the Thirty Years' War was the development of the so-called 'fantastical style' (stylus fantasticus), which intermingled the sacred and profane styles available at the time in a free-flowing, unstructured dialogue. In the darkest shadows of war, music had the immense power to motivate, unite, comfort, heal and lift people out of the depths of their grief."
Among the works Agave will perform are J. C. Bach's lament Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte, Pohle's Herr, wenn ich nur dich habe, the ciacona from J. C. Bach's cantata Meine Freundin, du bist schön, written for a Bach family wedding, and Johann Pachelbel's Canon and Gigue, heard here in its historical context.
In addition to Westman, the members of Agave are Natalie Carducci and Anna Washburn, violins and violas; Katherine Kyme, viola; William Skeen, cello and viola da gamba; Kevin Cooper, guitar and theorbo; and Henry Lebedinsky, organ and harpsichord.
Agave is also delighted to perform again with Reginald Mobley, a "young countertenor destined to make his mark," (Chicago Tribune). A regular soloist with Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists, Mobley recently made his debut with the Academy of Ancient Music, as well as with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony and the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. He has two recordings with Agave Baroque: Queen of Heaven, featuring the music of Isabella Leonarda, as well as Peace In Our Time which will be released next month.
Based in the Bay Area, Agave Baroque specializes in chamber music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Agave has received numerous awards and accolades, and has gained local and national attention for its "rapturous music," "brilliant... profound playing" (EMA Magazine), and growing discography. The group is now in its ninth season. For more information, audio and video clips, visit agavebaroque.org.
NEXT CONCERT March 2 - 4, 2018 | LES DÉLICES Founded by baroque oboist Debra Nagy in 2009, Les Délices has established its reputation for "concerts and recordings...that are journeys of discovery" (The New York Times). The group's debut CD was named one of the "Top Ten Early Music Discoveries of 2009" (NPR's Harmonia), and their performances have been called "a beguiling experience" (Cleveland Plain Dealer), "astonishing" (Cleveland Classical), and "first class" (EMA Magazine). For its March concerts the group will perform a collection of daring, experimental works from the French Rococo, works full of wit and elegance by François-André Philidor, Jean-Philippe Rameau and more.
ABOUT THE SAN FRANCISCO EARLY MUSIC SOCIETY Founded in 1975, SFEMS is the leading early music community-based service and membership organization in the US. Under the direction of Executive Director Harvey Malloy and President Joyce Johnson Hamilton, it is the focal institution in Northern California for the advancement of historically informed performance of early music. Through its concert series, publications, outreach activities, affiliate support and educational programs, SFEMS encourages the development of amateurs, supports professionals, and increases public involvement and participation in early music. SFEMS is the lead presenter of the Berkeley Festival & Exhibition of early music.