October 3, 2018

The dynamic New York City-based early music ensemble the Sebastians opens its 2018-19 season on Saturday, October 20, 2018, with Venice to Rome, a celebration of the two most vibrant Italian music hubs during the baroque era. The concert, taking place at Manhattan’s Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church, features violinists Daniel S. Lee – the Sebastians’ founding director – and Nicholas DiEugenio, with artistic director, harpsichordist Jeffrey Grossman and cellist Ezra Seltzer.

Venice to Rome explores the byways, not the highways, of Italian baroque music, and weaves a story through the development of the sonata, trio sonata and dance music forms. Many of the composers on the Sebastians’ season opener left significant and lasting impressions for generations to follow. Others on the program fell under their influence.

Brescia-born composer-violinist Giovanni Battista Fontana worked in both Rome and Venice and is represented by his Sonata seconda for solo violin and continuo, from a collection of works that was published posthumously. Arcangelo Corelli masterfully placed the violin at the forefront of the sonata and trio sonata form, including his mature works Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5, No. 5 for violin and continuo and Trio Sonata in D Major, Op. 3, No. 2. Little is known of Dario Castello, though the manuscript of his Sonate Concertante in Stil Moderno, Libro II indicates that he worked at St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice and that he was a pioneer of the trio sonata form, as was Giovanni Picchi, an organist at Venice’s Basilica di Santa Maria dei Frari whose collection of canzons (an instrumental “song”) influenced the ensuing concerto form. Picchi also wrote instrumental dance music, a form that appears in the music of some interlopers on the Venice to Rome program, including Bergamesca by the Modena-born and bred Giuseppe Colombi, and Tarquinio Merula who hailed from Cremona but composed in a progressive Venetian style. Merula’s colorful life is mirrored in his music, including his Ballo detto Pollicio and Chiaccona.

The innovations of these 16th- and 17th-century Italian composers spread throughout Europe, including to Stuttgart-born Johann Jakob Froberger whose studies in Rome influenced his Toccata for harpsichord. By the 18th century, the French were infatuated with the Italian style. As an homage, François Couperin composed his tribute Apothéose de Corelli, an extravagant programmatic suite that brings together all musicians of the Sebastians for the close of Venice to Rome.

Coinciding with the Venice to Rome concert is the launch of the Sebastians’ latest recording, Folia, featuring trio sonatas and vocal works, with soprano Awet Andemicael, by Corelli, Colista, Handel, and Vivaldi, including the album’s title track which can be viewed here.

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Further information about the Sebastians’ 2018-19 season opening concert can be found here.

For further information, image or interview requests please contact Melanne Mueller, MusicCo International, +1 917 907 2785, melanne@musiccointernational.com

Venice to Rome: Solo and Trio Sonatas by Venetian and Roman composers, celebrating the two most important Italian centers of baroque music
Saturday, October 20, 2018 – 7:30 pm
Giovanni Battista Fontana
(1589 – 1630) Sonata seconda (Venice, 1641)
Dario Castello (1590 – 1658) Sonata decima, from Sonate Concertante in Stil Moderno, Libro II (Venice, 1621)
Johann Jakob Froberger (1616 – 1667) Toccata for harpsichord (Vienna, 1649)
Giovanni Picchi (1571 – 1643) Canzon prima (Venice, 1625) Giuseppe Colombi (1635 – 1694) Bergamesca (Modena) Tarquinio Merula (1595 – 1665) Ballo detto Pollicio / Chiaccona
Arcangelo Corelli (1653 – 1713)
Sonata in G Minor, Op. 5, No. 5 for violin and continuo (Rome, 1700)
Trio Sonata in D Major, Op. 3, No. 2 (Rome, 1689)
François Couperin (1668 – 1733) Le Parnasse ou l’Apothéose de Corelli (Paris, 1724)

Daniel S. Lee, Nicholas DiEugenio violins
Ezra Seltzer cello
Jeffrey Grossman harpsichord

Good Shepherd-Faith Presbyterian Church
152 West 66th Street (between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue)
New York, NY 10023

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