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The Baltimore Consort Commemorates Shakespeare 400th in Houston
Wednesday, February 17, 2016 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm$15 – $35
HOUSTON – Perennial favorite The Baltimore Consort will return to Houston Early Music on April 24, 2016, with a program titled “The Food of Love: Songs, Dances and Fancies for Shakespeare,” featuring music connected with Shakespeare’s plays to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s death in 1616.
Shakespeare’s plays contain hundreds of musical references, including incidental music such as dances and fantasies (fancies), as well as songs written by the playwright and other authors of his time.
The program draws from 10 Shakespeare plays, including “The Tempest,” “As You Like It,” “Twelfth Night,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Winter’s Tale,” “Hamlet,” “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” “Othello,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Henry IV, Part II.”
Among the highlights are famous Shakespeare songs like “Where The Bee Sucks,” sung by Ariel in “The Tempest”and based on a melody written by Robert Johnson, who wrote a number tunes for which the Bard provided the lyrics. There are also tangentially related songs such as “The Carman’s Whistle,” which is mentioned by Falstaff in “Henry IV, Part II” but never sung in any of the plays.
Other highlights include well-known folk songs like “Greensleeves” and lesser-known pieces such as the broadside ballad “Complain My Lute.” Dances range from lively jigs and galliards to stately almans, several of them by JohnDowland.
The Baltimore Consort was founded in 1980 to perform the instrumental music of Shakespeare’s age, based on the model of a mixed, or “broken,” consort that entertained Queen Elizabeth I. Original members include Mary Anne Ballard (viols), Mark Cudek (cittern), Larry Lipkis (bass viol, recorder, krummhorn, gemshorn), Ronn McFarlane (lute) and Mindy Rosenfeld (flutes, fifes, bagpipes, krummhorn). Soprano Danielle Svonavec joined the group in 1999.
Through the years, the ensemble has explored English, Scottish and French popular music, focusing on the relationship between folk and art song and dance. The consort has recorded 16 CDs for the Dorian and Sono Luminuslabels, winning Billboard’s Top Classical-Crossover Artist of the Year award for its “The Art of the Bawdy Song” (1993). The ensemble has toured widely and performed on such syndicated radio broadcasts as “St. Paul Sunday,” “Performance Today,” “Harmonia” and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s “OnStage.”
The Baltimore Consort will present “The Food of Love: Songs, Dances and Fancies for Shakespeare” at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 24, 2016, at First Christian Church, 1601 Sunset Blvd., Houston, Texas 77005. A preconcert talk will begin at 3:15 p.m.
Tickets are available for $40 general admission, $35 senior admission and $20 for students with a valid student ID card. Children under the age of 15 receive free admission.
For more information, email [email protected] or call 281-846-4222.
ABOUT HOUSTON EARLY MUSIC:
As the city’s only organization dedicated to covering the large historical span of early music in all of its forms, Houston Early Music epitomizes a movement that has swept the world of classical music. Officially incorporated in 1969, the nonprofit provides performance opportunities for up-and-coming and major early music artists from around the world in an annual concert series. A successful educational outreach program introduces a future generation to a broad range of music. Houston Early Music is funded in part by grants from the Houston Arts Alliance, the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts.