The third installment in Piffaro, the Renaissance Band’s digital season is a revival of sorts of one of its most ambitious concert programs: 2016’s The Musical World of Don Quixote. The concert video will premiere on Friday March 5th at 7:30PM EST, with musicians on hand for a live chat, and remain available on demand until March 11. Digital tickets are $15 and are available online at Piffaro.org or by calling 215-235-8469.
The Musical World of Don Quixote (featured in the Fall 2016 issue of Early Music America Magazine) was a major event for the ensemble, with original support provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Curated by band member Grant Herreid, it featured numerous luminaries of the early music world: soprano Nell Snaidas, the male vocal quartet New York Polyphony, three-time GRAMMY Award-winning percussionist Glen Velez, guitarist Charles Weaver, and Spanish dulcian expert and Jordi Savall collaborator Josep Borás. Choreographer Christopher Williams, stage director Leland Kimball, and lighting designer Adam Mack helped create movement, atmosphere, and textual projections that illuminated the arc of the program. Performances were “wonderfully authoritative,” wrote David Patrick Stearns in his review for the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the combined elements “gave the evening a depth of emotion equal to any of the many Don Quixote dramatizations that I’ve encountered.”
The digital version of the program draws on archival footage of 2016’s program and distills it into a little over one hour of music that relates the adventures of fiction’s most beloved knight errant. Don Quixote’s world abounds with music: shepherds dance and play rustic instruments, aristocratic lovers lament their woes in song, trumpets sound battle cries, monks sing praises in elegant polyphony, and courtly musicians accompany processions with vihuelas, recorders, and harp. Piffaro’s musical program depicts this world with a rich tapestry of music composed in 16th and 17th c. Spain by composers such as Francisco Guerrero, Tomás Luis de Victoria, Gaspar Sanz, and innumerable others whose names are lost to time.
“There is no way that we would have had the financial capacity to remount a project of this scale, let alone bring it to a worldwide audience,” notes executive director Shannon Cline. “Being able to share one of our favorite programs with far-flung fans is one of the few silver linings of this season. The implications for future ambitious productions are exciting.”