These have been tough times for arts groups; they can be even tougher on niche groups.
So it's good news that Pro Musica Rara, Baltimore's long-running period instrument ensemble, has mustered the resources for a 37th season. A very attractive season, too.
As I've mentioned before, Pro Musica has made great strides over the past decade or so. The playing, technically and expressively, is on a classy level as a rule. Programming is consistently thoughtful, with lots of intriguing twists.
The one nagging problem has been financiual support. A few more angels would come in handy.
Back to Pro Musica Rara's 2011-2012 lineup. Of particular note is the return of ...
On Nov. 6 at Towson University's Center for the Arts, Baird will be featured in a program called "Jane Austen's Songbook" with cellist Allen Whear (Pro Musica's artistic director) and fortepianist Eva Mengelkoch. The concert promises vocal and instrumental works from Austen's own collection. Cool.
The season opens Oct. 9 with a focus on the dance forms that are such an integral part of Bach's music. Whear will offer excerpts from the solo cello suites; violinist Cynthia Roberts will play portions of the solo works for violin. The various minuets, sarabandes and the like will be interpreted onstage by Catherine Turocy (director of the New York Baroque Dance Company) and Meggi Sweeney Smith.
Sonatas for violin and keyboard by Mozart, Beethoven and others will be performed by Roberts and fortepianist Christoph Hammer on March 11.
The fortepiano will be in the picture, too, on April 29, with Mengelkoch as the player, joined by the Pro Musica Rara Classical Quartet -- violinists Greg Mulligan and Ivan Stefanovic, violist Sharon Pineo Myer, and Whear. The program includes a quintet by Boccherini and a chamber version of a Mozart piano concerto.
Like I said, a very attractive season from Pro Musica Rara.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JULIANNEBAIRD.CAMDEN.RUTGERS.EDU
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