“THE ARGENTINIAN-ITALIAN BACH,” DOMENICO ZIPOLI – October 15
JOHN ZORN: THE HERMETIC ORGAN – October 30
JASON ROBERTS, ORGANIST, ACCOMPANIES THE WIND – November 20
The first three events of the 2015-16 season of Great Music at St. Bart’s, the concert series at St. Bartholomew’s Church produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation (MMPAF), include a program focusing on the music of the “Argentinian-Italian Bach,” Domenico Zipoli, and J.S. Bach himself; and two events showcasing the magnificent St. Bart’s organ, the largest pipe organ in New York City: a performance by John Zorn of his own epic work The Hermetic Organ; and a silent film classic starring Lillian Gish, The Wind, screened to the accompaniment of live organ improvisation.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.mmpaf.org, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s in Midtown Manhattan, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street.
Thursday, October15, 2015, at 7:30 pm, in the Church
“THE ARGENTINIAN-ITALIAN BACH,” DOMENICO ZIPOLI
Part of the New York Early Music 2015 Celebration “El Nuevo Mundo”
Julianne Baird and Sarah Moulton Faux, sopranos
Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor
Pablo Bustos, tenor
John-Arthur Miller, baritone
Crescendo Chorus & Youth Singers
Crescendo Period & Andean Instrument Orchestra
Directed by Christine Gevert
Famed early music artist Julianne Baird and rising young singers Sarah Moulton Faux, soprano; Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor; Pablo Bustos, tenor; and John-Arthur Miller, baritone, join Crescendo, the New England-based vocal and instrumental ensemble directed by Christine Gevert, for a program featuring the music of Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli (the Italian-born Jesuit musician and missionary who lived and worked in Paraguay and Argentina) alongside two cantatas of J.S. Bach. “Zipoli’s music is comparable in style and quality to his contemporary Antonio Vivaldi – full of contrasting and dramatic elements,” says Gevert. “In our performance we will combine European Baroque instruments with native Andean ones, such as quenas [flutes] and charango [lute], to create the unique sound of the Latin American Baroque,” as well as combining adult and youth voices in the chorus.
“All pieces, except the Tantum Ergo, were written for soprano, alto, and tenor voices only, as there practically weren’t any low voices among the indigenous people in Latin America (and still today we have many more tenors than basses among Latin American singers),” says Gevert. “My arrangement carefully includes the choral bass voice into the choral texture – sometimes in a quite high range for their voices, to preserve the character of Zipoli’s writing and the sound quality of what must have been heard back then in the missions.”
Domenico Zipoli was a successful organist and composer in Rome before his departure to Argentina in 1717. Zipoli became the most famous Baroque composer in South America – his works were performed all over the continent and his reputation spread from there to Europe. The music he wrote in South America was lost for more than 200 years, surfacing in the late 1970s – this program presents some of these works, including parts of Misa San Ignacio and Vespers San Ignacio. The program also features two sacred cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach. His choral cantata Nach Dir, Herr, verlanget mich (For Thee, O Lord, I long), BWV 150, is an early one, and the abundance of short contrasting choral movements makes it similar to Zipoli’s works. The soprano solo cantata Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn (Everything with God and nothing without him), BWV 1127, was lost for almost 300 years, only re-discovered in 2005.
Crescendo received the Alfred Nash Patterson Award given by Choral Arts New England for this program, presented in New England in November of 2014. Crescendo’s repertoire focuses mainly on music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods, but encompasses all musical eras. Chorus America’s 2014 Alice Parker/ASCAP award winner for innovative programming, Crescendo is led by Artistic Director and conductor Christine Gevert, whose exploration of her Latin American heritage has led to concerts of rarely heard Colonial Latin American music, as well as contemporary works by Latin American composers.
WATCH: Crescendo performs the Credo from Zipoli’s Misa San Ignacio on YouTube.
Misa San Ignacio (excerpts)
Vespers San Ignacio (excerpts)
Nacht Dir, Herr, verlanget mich, BWV 150
Alles mit Gott und nichts ohn’ ihn, BWV 1127
Tickets: $40 Preferred Seating; $30 General Seating; $10 for Students
Friday, October 30, 2015, at 11:59 pm, in the Church
JOHN ZORN: THE HERMETIC ORGAN
Presented in tandem with National Sawdust’s John Zorn Festival
John Zorn, organ
Modern music icon John Zorn performs his epic solo organ improvisation The Hermetic Organ on the largest pipe organ in New York City, the magnificent Aeolian-Skinner at St. Bart’s. Zorn released a recording of the 2012 performance in St. Paul’s Chapel at Columbia University, which Lou Reed praised as one of “culmination and conquest,” on his own Tzadik Records.
From that album’s notes: “Although organ was Zorn’s first instrument (he often credits Lon Chaney in the silent classic Phantom of the Opera as a primal influence), in 2011 Zorn surprised even his hardcore fans by initiating a new series of solo organ concerts in churches around the world. Premiering at the historic Christ Church in Philadelphia, the word on these concerts spread like wildfire and further events were set up in Belgium, France and of course in New York. … the music is breathtakingly beautiful, and distinguished by a spiritual mood that only a huge pipe organ can create. A perfect outlet for Zorn’s dramatic sense of color and contrast, we hear the composer’s mind at work in all its bizarre permutations – huge blocks of sound, chords, clusters, counterpoint, drones, ostinatos, lyrical melodies and more – often all at the same time!” www.tzadik.com
“The one word virtually everyone can agree on in any discussion of the work of composer John Zorn is ‘prolific,’ in the strictest sense of the definition,” says Thom Jurek in allmusic.com. “Though he didn’t begin making records until 1980, the recordings under his own name number well over 100, and the sheer number of works he has performed on, composed, or produced easily doubles that number. Though now an internationally renowned musician and the founder and owner of the wildly successful and equally prolific Tzadik imprint, Zorn is a cornerstone of New York’s fabled and influential downtown scene. In addition, he has played with musicians of every stripe. He is … a quintessential mirror of 21st century culture.”
WATCH: John Zorn’s talks about his approach to The Hermetic Organ on YouTube.
WATCH: A video about the St. Bart’s organ on Vimeo.
Tickets: $35, $25, $15 for Students and Seniors
Friday, November 20, 2015, at 7:30 pm, in the Church
JASON ROBERTS ACCOMPANIES THE WIND
Jason Roberts, organ
St. Bart’s Associate Director of Music and Organist Jason Roberts improvises organ accompaniment to one of the last great silent films, the romantic drama The Wind. This 1928 cinematic masterpiece by director Victor Sjöström stars the great Lillian Gish, who was an active member of St. Bart’s and who is interred in the church’s memorial chapel.
The Wind was the last silent film headlined by Lillian Gish, one of the silent screen’s greatest stars. Based on a novel by Dorothy Scarborough, it tells the story of a young Virginia woman who moves west to Texas and is almost driven mad by physical hardship, spiritual repression, and a howling wind.
Last season, Jason Roberts improvised the organ accompaniment for Steamboat Bill, Jr., at St. Bart’s. A sought-after recitalist, Jason was chosen to play at last summer’s Regional Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Hartford, CT. An avid improviser, he won first prize at the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation in 2008, and was a finalist in improvisation at the St. Alban’s International Organ Competition in 2011.
WATCH: A video about the St. Bart’s organ on Vimeo.
Tickets: $20, $10 for Students and Seniors
Tickets may be purchased online at www.mmpaf.org, by phone by calling 212-378-0248, or in person at St. Bart’s in Midtown Manhattan, 325 Park Avenue at 51st Street. Great Music at St. Bart’s is produced by the Mid-Manhattan Performing Arts Foundation, an independent 501(c)(3) corporation established to cultivate, promote, sponsor and develop the understanding and love of the performing arts as presented at St. Bartholomew’s Church, a treasured masterpiece of architecture on the east side of Manhattan’s midtown. The corporation sponsors performances of music, dance, drama, and other performing arts as well as the exhibition of works in the film and fine arts genres.