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ASTON MAGNA AT BARD WILL PERFORM WORKS BY BACH AND PURCELL ON FRIDAY, JULY 11
Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Aston Magna at Bard, whose concert series has been described by the New York Times as "America's preeminent summer early-music event," will present the second concert of the 2003 series on Friday evening, July 11. Under the artistic direction of Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna aims to interpret the music of the past as each composer imagined it. For three decades, Aston Magna has been internationally recognized for its contributions to the popularization of early music performed with historically accurate instruments and techniques. The concert, presented by The Bard Center, will begin at 8:00 p.m. in Olin Hall. A preconcert talk begins at 7:00 p.m.
Sweeter than Roses, a program of works by Bach and Purcell, will feature performances of Bach’s "Wedding Cantata" (Weichet Nur, betrübte Schatten, BWV 202) and Concerto in C Minor, BWV 1060, for oboe and violin. These works will be paired with instrumental works by Henry Purcell together with excerpts from his Fairy Queen. Soprano Nancy Armstrong is the featured soloist for the cantata and the songs. Stephen Hammer and Daniel Stepner will perform the concerto on baroque oboe and violin, respectively, and Peter Sykes will play Purcell’s Suite in G Minor, Z. 661, for solo harpsichord. Stepner will lead an instrumental ensemble consisting of violinist Kinloch Earle, violist Laura Jeppesen, baroque cellist Loretta O’Sullivan, and baroque bassist Anne Trout.
Virtuosic Italian music of the baroque will be the focus of the Friday, July 18 concert, titled Italian Madrigals and Trio Sonatas. Tenors William Hite and Frank Kelley return to perform madrigals by Monteverdi and his contemporaries. These works will be paired with trio sonatas from the same era, performed by Stepner and fellow violinist Anthony Martin. Laura Jeppesen and Peter Sykes join in on viola da gamba and harpsichord, respectively.
Soprano Dominique Labelle returns for La Belle France, a concert largely devoted to French music, on Friday, July 25. She will be joined by flutist Christopher Krueger, violinist Daniel Stepner, viola da gambist Laura Jeppesen, and harpsichordist John Gibbons in a program featuring music of Marais, Couperin, and Clérambault, whose cantata Léandre et Héro will be performed. Harpsichordist Gibbons also will perform a French Suite by Bach
For its final event on Friday, August 1, Aston Magna celebrates its three decades of music making with a performance of the complete Brandenburg Concertos by J. S. Bach. Among the many soloists will be Josh Cohen, trumpet; John Gibbons, harpsichord; Stephen Hammer, oboe and recorder; Christopher Krueger, flute and recorder; and Daniel Stepner and Nancy Wilson, violins. Stepner will also lead the instrumental ensemble.
Daniel Stepner, Aston Magna's artistic director, is a distinguished violinist of great versatility. He has performed and recorded contemporary music with Boston Musica Viva; the sonatas of Charles Ives with pianist John Kirkpatrick; and solo works, chamber works, and concertos from the baroque and classical eras on period instruments. He is first violinist with the Lydian String Quartet and has served as concertmaster of the Handel & Haydn Society, Banchetto Musicale, Boston Early Music Festival Orchestra, Boston Philharmonic, and New Haven Symphony, and as associate concertmaster of Frans Brüggen's Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century. Stepner has taught at the Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, and Longy School of Music.
Aston Magna at Bard is made possible in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, and the generosity of the Homeland Foundation and the Leon Levy Foundation at Bard College. A subscription for any three concerts is $50; single tickets cost $20. For information on the concert series and to order tickets, call The Bard Center at 845-758-7425.
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