Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Ensemble Musical Offering, “Music from the

On Saturday, September 28th, we went to the Cathedral of All Saints on East Juneau to hear a group new to us, the Ensemble Musical Offering, which bills itself as “Milwaukee’s Midwest Bande for Early Music.” The program was titled “Music from the French Court, Paris ca. 1740.”
The ensemble for this evening was made up of Joan Parsley, harpsichord; Paul Jacobson, traverse (transverse flute); Gesa Kordes, baroque violin;  and Eric Miller, viola da gamba.  We arrived during the pre-concert, while the players gave an informative talk about the music and instruments to be played, illustrated with Powerpoint slides.

The program consisted of the Quartet No. 1 in D Major (TWV 43:D3) by Georg Philipp Telemann, from the “Nouveaux quatuors en six suites a une flute traversiere, un violon, une basse de viol ou violoncelle et basse continue (1738)”; the Premier Concert for Violin, Viola da Gamba, and Obbligato Harpsichord in C Minor, by Jean-Phillipe Rameau, from the “Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts (1741); Telemann’s Quartet No. 6 in E Minor; and Rameau’s Troisieme Concert in A Major.

The program was played straight through without an interval. Luckily, the pews at All Saints are somewhat more comfortable than those of other churches we have been at lately.  The acoustics suited the music excellently, and the playing was superb.

I was very interested by the stylistic differences between Telemann and Rameau. Telemann’s pieces are more formal, the movements have only descriptive designations such as “Quickly (Vite)” or “Cheerfully (Gaiement)”, and the harpsichord, as the “basse continue”, is essentially an accompanying instrument for the violin, flute, and viola da gamba trio. In Rameau’s works, the harpsichord is a full partner, and the player is given quite a workout. Rameau’s movements have programmatic titles like “La Coulicam (Khubla Khan)” , although I can’t say I detected anything that I perceived as “Oriental” about the movement.

We enjoyed this concert very much, especially Georgie, who is a particular fan of Rameau. We will be looking seriously at attending future performances by this group. Their next is to be a program of Baroque dance music, to be given at the Milwaukee Women’s Club on November 23rd.

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Tags: music
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