Folger Consort Presents A CHRISTMAS MESSE: A BANQUET OF SEASONAL ENGLISH MUSIC

Folger Consort Presents A CHRISTMAS MESSE: A BANQUET OF SEASONAL ENGLISH MUSIC

Folger Consort, the early music ensemble in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library, performs twelve concerts of A Christmas Messe: A Banquet of Seasonal English Music, Friday, December 14 through Sunday, December 23, 2018 in the Folger's festively decorated Elizabethan theater. Seasonal English favorites will be heard alongside Latin carols from medieval England, choral works by one of England's greatest Renaissance era composers, William Byrd, and traditional carols such as "The Boar's Head" and others.

As a perfect pairing to this English Yuletide music, celebrated actor Rick Foucheux will perform scenes from the Folger's rare 1619 manuscript A Christmas Messe, a merry play depicting a showdown between King Beef and King Brawn. A culinary supporting cast-which includes Salt, Bread, Queen Mincepie, Vinegar, and Belly-weighs in on the decision.

Folger Consort-led by Robert Eisenstein (viola da gamba) and Christopher Kendall (lute)-will be joined by Dan Meyers (winds), Mary Springfels (viola da gamba), Webb Wiggins (organ), and a chamber choir that includes soprano Crossley Hawn, alto Lucy McVeigh, tenor Oliver Mercer, and baritone William Sharp.

Individual tickets are $52 ($25 for partial view) and may be purchased at the Folger box office at (202) 544-7077 or online at www.folger.edu/consort. Discounts are available for students, senior citizens, military personnel and families, educators, and groups.

In A Christmas Messe: A Banquet of Seasonal English Music, Folger Consort presents a program of English holiday music from the 14th to the 17th centuries in historically-informed arrangements for early instruments. The program begins with the earliest known Latin carols originating in England. The word "carol" originally referred to a type of dance song, and these pieces feature lively dance-like rhythms and warm melodies in an attempt by anonymous church composers to make the official church Christmas celebrations as attractive as possible. In addition to Advent music originating from the church, England boasts a rich body of holiday music from folk sources and Folger Consort will perform several of these favorites, including "Greensleeves," "The Boar's Head," and "Dives and Lazarus." Rounding out the program will be a selection of choral works, such as "From Virgin's Womb this Day Did Spring," by one of England's greatest composers, William Byrd.

As an interlude to the music, actor Rick Foucheux will perform select readings from the rare 1619 play, A Christmas Messe. Existing only in manuscript form in the Folger Shakespeare Library's historic collection, the whimsical play depicts a showdown between King Beef and King Brawn. Who will be served first at the traditional English Christmas dinner? A culinary supporting cast-which includes Salt, Bread, Queen Mincepie, Vinegar, and Belly-weighs in on the decision.

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