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Early Music at Portland Public Library
Torres meets Tárrega:
Spanish Guitar Music of Francisco Tárrega and contemporaries
Tuesday, July 11th at 1pm in the Lewis Gallery
Before Andres Segovia, there was Francisco Tárrega, arguably the founder of the modern school of guitar playing. In addition to his work as a concertizing artist and composer, Tárrega was an inspiring teacher who influenced a generation of students. Several of those students, in turn, went on to significant careers as composers, concert artists, and teachers.
Timothy Burris will perform a program of classical guitar music by Francisco Tárrega and several of his students, including Miguel Llobet, Emilio Pujol, and Daniel Fortea. Works by Tárrega’s own teacher, Julian Arcas, round out the program.
Mr Burris will perform the works on a guitar built for him by Richard Berg (Ottawa), a copy of an 1864 instrument presented by the father of the modern classical guitar, Antonio Torres, to a youthful Francisco Tárrega.
This is the first of three events leading up to the 6th Portland Conservatory of Music Early Music Festival (27-29 October at Woodford’s Congregational Church).
“What’s so ‘early’ about Early Music?”
Tuesday, July 25th at 1pm in the Rines Auditorium
The definition of “early music” has evolved over the past century–or longer! For a while, the term was applied to music composed between 1400 and 1750, or the periods commonly called Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque.
A more expansive–and I think more appropriate–description opens the “Early Music” entry in New Grove Online: “A term once applied to music of the Baroque and earlier periods, but now commonly used to denote any music for which a historically appropriate style of performance must be reconstructed on the basis of surviving scores, treatises, instruments and other contemporary evidence.”
Today’s program is a lecture interspersed with recorded samples illustrating the evolving world of ‘historically informed performance’ more commonly called Early Music.
Timothy Burris was a student of the world-renowned lutenist Toyohiko Satoh at The Hague’s Royal Conservatory and graduated in 1988 with a performance diploma. In 1997, he obtained a PhD from Duke University for his research into lute practice in 18th-century Dresden. A Fulbright alumnus, he was lute instructor at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in Antwerp from 1990-96 and since 2000 has been on the faculty of the Portland Conservatory of Music. He is also a member of the applied music faculty at Colby College, where he conducted the Collegium during the 2015-16 academic year. Mr Burris is also the founder and director of the Portland Conservatory’s annual early music festival.
This is the second of three events leading up to the 6th Portland Conservatory of Music Early Music Festival (27-29 October at Woodford’s Congregational Church).
An Age of Invention: Music of 17th-Century Italy for ‘Cello and Theorbo
Tuesday, August 22nd at 1pm in the Lewis Gallery
17th-century Italy witnessed unparalleled musical experimentation, including the creation and expansion of improvisatory instrumental styles. Three of the many remarkable talents of the era were Domenico Gabrielli, Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, and Girolamo Frescobaldi. Domenico Gabrielli’s historical significance is due to his virtuosity on the ‘cello, and as the composer of some of the earliest music for the instrument. His canons, ricercares and sonatas showcase both an advanced performing technique and a keen awareness of the instrument’s sonority. Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger, nicknamed “Il Tedesco della tiorba” (‘the German of the theorbo’) composed for lute and theorbo, but also in several other genres, to great acclaim. Arguably the most famous of the three was Girolamo Frescobaldi. Although best known for his keyboard works including his magical Fiori musicali (which contains no fewer than three organ masses!), he penned a toccata which names lute as one of the performance options, his “Toccata per Spinettina sola, over Liuto”. These and other works provide an introduction to the Italian style of the 17th century.
Timothy Burris (lute) has performed widely in Europe and the US, including appearances with world-renowned early music vocalists Derek Lee Ragin and Jennifer Lane. The most recent of his nine recordings includes his own transcription of J.S. Bach’s Ciaccona for solo violin. Lute instructor at the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music in Antwerp from 1990-96, he is currently on the faculty of the Portland Conservatory of Music and Colby College.
The theorbo and archlute used in today’s performance were made for Mr Burris by Richard Berg of Ottawa, modeled on originals by Pietro Railich.
Raffael Scheck (‘cello) was born in Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany). He is Katz Distinguished Teaching Professor of modern European history at Colby College, where he has taught since 1994. Before becoming a historian, he studied cello for a couple of semesters with Claude Starck at the conservatory of Zürich. He has more recently specialized in baroque cello.
This is the third of three events leading up to the 6th Portland Conservatory of Music Early Music Festival (27-29 October at Woodford’s Congregational Church).