Fire: Blazing Italian Baroque

Saturday, March 9, 4 pm - First Parish, Wayland and Online
Sunday, March 10, 4 pm - Old South Church, Boston

DD SarahThe Italian Baroque era is considered a transformative period in musical history, characterized by highly ornate melodic figuration, as well as new and innovative instrumentations. This program explores chamber works by some of the many outstanding Italian virtuosi of the time, including Vivaldi’s Trio Sonata in D Minor. “La Follia,” as it is also known (translated to “madness” or “folly”), is based on one of the earliest European musical themes, rooted in the folk songs of Spain and Portugal. The melody celebrates the frenzied intensity of dance, and over 150 composers have written variations on it over the span of 300 years. Vivaldi’s version of this theme and variations is widely considered one of his masterpieces. 

Domenico Scarlatti, another master of the Italian Baroque era, was renowned for his virtuosity on the harpsichord and wrote a staggering 555 sonatas for keyboard. Charles Avison (a student of Francesco Geminiani, himself a student of Scarlatti), took many of these works and imaginatively arranged them as concerti grossi for strings. His Concerto Grosso in D Major is featured on this program. The ensemble also pays homage to Avison’s teacher, Geminiani, with a performance of his brilliant and commanding Cello Sonata in B-flat Major. Dubbed “Il Furibondo” (the Madman) by Giuseppe Tartini for his virtuosity on the violin, Geminiani wrote only six sonatas for the cello, all of which are technically challenging, full of evocative melodies, and deserve far more attention than they have received.

In honor of Women’s History Month and in keeping with the ensemble’s ongoing mission to shed light on little-known works and underrepresented composers, the ensemble is including Anna Bon’s daringly creative and virtuosic Flute Sonata in C Major. Bon worked at the courts of Bayreuth and Esterhazy. The program concludes with the colorful, masterful Flute Concerto in D Major by the violin virtuoso Pietro Nardini, which the ensemble originally revived in 2010 for the work’s regional premiere

Suzanne Stumpf, traverso
Sarah Darling and Amelia Sie, violins
Daniel Ryan, cello
Benjamin Katz, harpsichord

The Wayland concert is co-presented with the Wayland Museum & Historical Society (members receive a $10 discount on their ticket). The Boston concert is supported in part by a grant by the Boston Cultural Council.


Air: Heavenly Baroque Christmas

Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023, 4 pm - First Unitarian, Worcester and Online
Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, 4 pm - Church of the Covenant, Boston

DD SarahThis holiday program of celestial works from Spain and New Spain includes lively villancicos and cantatas for voices and instruments by Spanish composers Juan Francés de Iribarren and Joaquín García de Antonio, Guatemalan composer Rafael Antonio Castellanos, Cuban composer Esteban Salas y Castro, and Mexican composers Antonio de Salazar and Manuel de Zumaya, who was one of the first Mexican-born Classical composers. Instrumental works include trio sonatas by the Catalan brothers Juan and José Pla, the Spanish composers Antonio Rodriguez de Hita, Juan Cabanilles, and Antonio Martín y Coll. Also featured will be the world premiere reconstruction of a Pastorela by an anonymous composer associated with the Puebla Cathedral in Mexico. Vocal soloists will be Adriana Ruiz, soprano and Hilary Anne Walker, mezzo-soprano.

Instrumental guest artists include María Diez-Canedo, traverso, and guitarist Eloy Cruz. They are founding members of the Mexican period instrument ensemble La Fontegara, faculty members at the (UNAM) National University of Mexico in Mexico City, and avid researchers.

Soprano Adriana Ruiz, a native of Cuba, has recorded and toured as a soloist and in ensemble, with performances in Spain, France, and the Caribbean. In 2018 she was named an Early Music America (EMA) Emerging Artist. Recently, Adriana made her debut at the Boston Early Music Festival with the Latin-Baroque fusion ensemble, Rumbarroco. This season marks her debut with Musicians of the Old Post Road.

Hilary Anne Walker, lyric mezzo-soprano, is an avid performer and supporter of early music in the greater Boston area. She has performed at the Bloomington Early Music Festival and with Odyssey Opera, BMOP, Long and Away, Opera Boston, and Lorelei Ensemble. She debuted with Musicians of the Old Post Road in the 2022-23 season.

Ensemble members include:

Suzanne Stumpf, traverso
Sarah Darling and Jesse Irons, violins
Daniel Ryan, cello
Benjamin Katz, harpsichord

With guest artists:
Adriana Ruiz, soprano
Hilary Anne Walker, lyric mezzo-soprano
María Diez-Canedo, traverso
Eloy Cruz, Baroque guitar


Water: Cascading Baroque Passion

October 28, 2023 (Boston) and October 29, 2023 (Sudbury and Online)

DD Sarah

The opening program of our "Elements" season, Cascading Baroque Passion is an exploration of the ways “water” has influenced and inspired Baroque composers.The inclusion of Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre’s rarely-performed cantata Jonas, for soprano, violin, and continuo, is a testament to the ensemble’s mission to champion overlooked 18th-century female composers. Jacquet de la Guerre was actually one of the few well-known female musicians of her time, a talented harpsichordist and composer who served in the court of Louis XIV. Jonas is part of her collection of works often referred to as Cantates Biblique, and depicts the epic Biblical tale of Jonah and the whale.

Other works include selections from André Cardinal Destouches’ Les élémens, an opera-ballet about the creation of the elements, and Antonio Vivaldi’s flute concerto La Tempesta di Mare (“The Storm at Sea”). Also on the program is the April Suite from Neuer und sehr curios-Musicalischer Instrumental-Calender ("New and very curious musical instrument calendar”) by Gregor Joseph Werner, a fascinating and little-known collection where each of the twelve suites depicts a month of the year. In this selection, Werner playfully depicts variable weather with vacillating tempi in its “Changeable April Weather” movement and closes the suite with an evocation of a chorus of frogs. André Campra's motet Domine, Dominus noster and an aria from Johann David Heinichen's Serenata sull' Elba will also be performed.

Agnes Courtney Cox, soprano
Suzanne Stumpf, traverso
Sarah Darling and Jesse Irons violins
Marcia Cassidy, viola
Daniel Ryan, cello
Michael Sponseller, harpsichord


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