By the end of the 17th century in France, aristocrats had given up playing music themselves, but with long evenings to fill they creating a market for a class of great composers and players of solo music for the harpsichord, the lute and a new toy – the guitar. Throughout this period musicians rose to become the best-paid performers of their time—rock stars of the era.
Early Music Studio brings this period to life with a concert at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, taking us back to the drawing rooms and music composed for the lute, theorbo, early guitar and harpsichord.
Professional musicians Clive Titmuss and Susan Adams are virtuoso of the style, performing music created for wealthy patrons and their discriminating ears. The music languished in obscurity for centuries until it was recently rediscovered. In a press release, Titmuss said: “very few people were privileged to hear these extraordinary works when they were written, but anyone may enjoy them now.”
The harpsichord was the most important keyboard instrument—with its sophisticated technology, elegance and commanding tones. It inspired an entire generation of composers to write works of art intended to highlight its power.
The French lute also reached its peak, just as the guitar began to gain favour. The trends crossed over: Guitar tricks showed up in lute music and the elevated mood of the lute was heard in the best guitar music. Flashy music for the harpsichord copied both instruments and contributed new tricks of its own.
Titmuss and Adams will perform works composed by Couperin, Le Roux, d’Angelbert, de Visée and Dufaut.
Audiences will hear just how this brilliant cross-pollination worked, when lute, theorbo, early guitar and harpsichord share the stage on April 19, 7:30 p.m., in the Mary Irwin Theatre inside the RCA.
Early Music Studio is a not-for-profit society, which has called Kelowna home for 13 years, advancing the knowledge of 17th and 18th century music in the Okanagan. The musicians play live, make recordings, act as a cultural bank and promote awareness of live music on period instruments, having won national and international attention as performers, teachers and scholars.