Post Date: 06/29/2021

Cape Cod’s Courante baroque music ensemble presents: Fantasy and Invention

Courante baroque music ensemble is returning to live concerts after over a year’s hiatus. Performing on period instruments, the quartet will present a concert entitled “Fantasy and Invention” at St Andrew’s by the Sea, 12 Irving Ave., Hyannis Port on Sunday, July 25 at 5:00 PM. The program will include Inventions by Bach and Bonporti, Fantasias by Locke, Gibbons and Jenkins, and trio sonatas by Telemann and Bach.

Some of the works in the program are in the Stylus Fantasticus, a compositional style prevalent in the early baroque period and described by 17th century scholar Athanasius Kircher as being “especially suited to instruments. It is the most free and unrestrained method of composing, it is bound to nothing, neither to any words nor to a melodic subject, it was instituted to display genius and to teach the hidden design of harmony and the ingenious composition of harmonic phrases and fugues.” (Musurgia Universalis, 1650)

Courante was founded in 2017, when local musicians David Gable (violin), Jan Elliott (recorder) and Molly Johnston (viola da gamba) discovered a mutual affinity for beautiful and challenging chamber music from the baroque era. Brittany Lord (harpsichord) soon joined the group, completing the “basso continuo” portion of the ensemble.

Courante performs music in a variety of baroque styles, using authentic instruments and performance practices. Their name is taken from a popular baroque dance, the courante or corrente, which is characterized by sprightly rhythms in triple meter. By tradition, the group incorporates at least one courante or corrente in every program. In this concert, the courantes are movements within two larger works: Suite No. 4 from “The Broken Consort” by Matthew Locke, and “Invenzione Decima,” by Francesco Antonio Bonporti. Bonporti, a violinist, composer and ordained priest, is the first composer known to have used the term “invention” to describe a piece of music.

Jan Elliott, recorder, began her musical training in Falmouth with Patricia C. Brown and Ruth Guillard. She holds a BA in Music from Wesleyan University and an MA in Dance Ethnology from UCLA, and studied Ethnomusicology at the University of London. Formerly on the Music Education faculty at Boston University, she currently maintains a private teaching studio in Woods Hole. In addition to performing with Courante, she directs the Woods Hole Recorder Consort and performs with Ensemble Passacaglia and the Boston Recorder Orchestra.

Violinist David Gable holds degrees in violin performance from the University of Michigan and Boston University, where he studied with Paul Makanowitzky and Joseph Silverstein. Well known to Cape Cod audiences, he is a Cape Symphony teaching artist, and has performed with many instrumental ensembles across Cape Cod. With Courante he plays a violin dating from eighteenth century Germany, using a replica of a mid-eighteenth century Italian-style bow made by Donald MacKenzie of Brewster, MA.

Molly Johnston, viola da gamba, holds degrees in Music History from Wellesley College and Yale University, and has studied instrumental performance with Adrienne Hartzell, Grace Feldman and Laura Jeppeson. She taught Music History at Duke University, where she also directed the Collegium Musicum, performing medieval, renaissance and baroque music. She was the director of the Utah Shakespearean Festival Consort and has taught at the Viola da Gamba Society of America conclave. She also performs with Ensemble Passacaglia and Canto Armonico of Boston.

Harpsichordist Brittany Lord has been Music Director at the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole since 2008. She also maintains an active studio of private piano students on the Upper Cape. Ms. Lord earned a Master’s degree in organ performance from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ, where she studied organ with Alan Morrison. She received Bachelor’s degrees in both Organ Performance and Music Education from the University of Southern Maine, studying organ with Ray Cornils.

Admission to the 5 PM concert is by donation, with $20 suggested but all donations welcome. Children and students will be admitted free of charge.

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