Don’t miss Tacoma’s 2020 Salish Sea Early Music Festival

By Morf Morford
Tacoma Daily Index

Tacoma has more than its share of unexpected surprises. One of the most astounding is the Salish Sea Early Music Festival.

No matter what your musical tastes – or even if you have no previous interest or encounter with “early” music – I can guarantee that you will be astounded by this music series.

All performances make use of period instruments. Bring your children and your senses and prepare to marvel at a style – and skill – of music you rarely get to hear in a small historic venue like Tacoma’s St. Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church.

Tacoma’s 2020 Salish Sea Early Music Festival presents “Mozart Quartets” featuring the complete Mozart quartets for flute and strings performed on period instruments.

Tacoma Salish Sea Early Music Festival Schedule

Thursday, January 30 – Mozart Flute Quartets •

By far the most well known flute quartets of any era, with 8-keyed flutist Jeffrey Cohan, violinist Carrie Krause, violist Victoria Gunn and cellist Caroline Nicolas.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) wrote four flute quartets between 1777 and 1786 or later. They borrow material from French folk song, an opera by Giovanni Paisiello which Mozart had heard in Prague, and works of Mozart’s own and his friend Franz Anton Hoffmeister, and are by far the most well known of all works for this combination of instruments. Mozart’s unfortunate professed distaste for the flute was possibly a reflection of the his feelings for De Jean, the rich amateur flutist and surgeon with the Dutch East India Company who commissioned much of his flute music, to who Mozart had been introduced to by his friend the Mannheim virtuoso flutist Johann Baptist Wendling. Distracted by efforts to compose an opera, Mozart had difficulty devoting time to the commissioned works in a timely manner and there was some disgruntlement with regards to reimbursement. Nevertheless the quartets, and Mozart’s other solo works for flute and flute solos in an orchestral context, abound with transporting melodies the likes of which only Mozart could offer.

A plaque on a row house in London, England. Photo: Morf Morford
A plaque on a row house in London, England. Photo: Morf Morford

Thursday, March 5 – Travels With Charles Burney In 1770 •

A musical portrayal of the travels of Charles Burney in 1770 and 1772 features cellist Susie Napper, harpsichordist Hans-Jürgen Schnoor and one-keyed baroque flutist Jeffrey Cohan.

Thursday, March 19 – Giuliani & Friends •

A Beethoven-era exploration of repertoire for flute and guitar features instruments from this period played by guitarist Oleg Timofeyev and 8-keyed flutist Jeffrey Cohan.

Thursday, April 2 – Musica Alta Ripa •

Violinist Anne Röhrig and harpsichordist Bernward Lohr, two specialists who lead Musica Alta Ripa and the early music movement in northern Europe, join flutist Jeffrey Cohan for a program centering around the early decades of the 18th century.

Thursday, April 23 – Louis XV •

Although Louis XV did not share the profound love of music for which his great-grandfather Louis XIV was famed, he witnessed a period of unrestrained creativity and development in art music, to be illustrated in this performance of Philidor, Leclair, Blavet and others with John Lenti on theorbo and baroque guitar, and Jeffrey Cohan on baroque flute.

Thursday, May 14 – Italian Canzonas & Sonatas •

Dulcian, or renaissance bassoon player Anna Marsh, theorbist John Lenti and renaissance flutist Jeffrey Cohan are pleased to further explore the rarely-heard Italian canzonas and sonatas for treble and bass solo instruments and continuo, in particular focusing on the fabulous music of Giovanni Battista Buonamente and Tarquinio Merula.

The Salish Sea Early Music Festival is proud to be an affiliate organization of Early Music America, which develops, strengthens, and celebrates early music and historically informed performance in North America. SSEMF has presented countless first performances in modern times of period instrument renditions of early works. Flutist Jeffrey Cohan is the festival’s artistic director.

This tenth annual festival features some of the finest period instrument specialists from North America and Europe in chamber music from the Renaissance through Beethoven, all on period instruments.

Additional information is available at www.salishseafestival.org/tacoma.

All concerts take place at 7:00 PM on Thursdays at St. Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church at 3615 North Gove Street in Tacoma.

St. Luke's Memorial Episcopal Church provides an ideal setting and acoustic for this early chamber music presented at the Salish Sea Early Music Festival. It is an exact replica of an English country church that was built in 1883 and later moved stone by stone to its present site on North Gove Street. Image courtesy St. Luke's Memorial Church
St. Luke’s Memorial Episcopal Church provides an ideal setting and acoustic for this early chamber music presented at the Salish Sea Early Music Festival. It is an exact replica of an English country church that was built in 1883 and later moved stone by stone to its present site on North Gove Street. Image courtesy St. Luke’s Memorial Church

Admission is by suggested donation of $15. 18 and under free.

The Salish Sea Early Music Festival evolved from Concert Spirituel, which since the early 1980s in Seattle and Chicago has featured harpsichordists Elisabeth Wright, George Shangrow, David Schrader and John Whitelaw (Belgium), violinists Stanley Ritchie and Jorg Michael Schwarz, lutenists Stephen Stubbs and John Schneiderman, gambists Susan Napper, Mary Springfels and cellist Elaine Scott Banks. Unpublished works from the Library of Congress and other libraries and unusual instruments and instrumental combinations that were familiar in earlier times are given particular attention. From 1725 until 1790, the Concert Spirituel in Paris offered outstanding sacred, orchestral and chamber music performances presented by the leading instrumentalists and composers of Europe, featuring the most innovative new music of the day.

Music of this genre and this quality rarely reaches Tacoma.

The Salish Sea Early Music Festival usually performs in Seattle, Vancouver, BC or Victoria.

Don’t let your unique opportunity to catch them at an intimate, historic and acoustic site like Tacoma’s St. Luke’s Episcopal Church pass by.

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