September 30, 2018 – 3:00PM
First Presbyterian Church, 10025 105 St, Edmonton
May 3, 4 and 5, 2019
A towering masterpiece of the early Baroque — at once intimate and grand, prayerful and dramatic, exalted and sensual. Monteverdi’s rarely performed 1610 Vespers of the Blessed Virgin offers up a dizzying array of textures and sonorities in brilliant instrumental writing, opulent choruses, and moving solo arias and duets.
Don’t miss this highlight of the 9th annual Early Music Festival on Saturday evening, May 4 (with a repeat performance in Calgary on Sunday, May 5).
In its time, the Vespers was unprecedented in scale—seven solo singers, a chorus large enough to divide in as many as ten parts, and a varied and colorful orchestra.
Its first performance was in Venice at the St Mark’s Basilica. Monteverdi made full use of the many balconies of the cathedral, with musicians and singers performing from every corner and balcony in the church. This place, where the first polyphonic music was written by Monteverdi and some of his contemporaries was the inspiration for this grande composition. For the performance at First Presbyterian Church, one of the oldest churches in Edmonton with some beautiful balconies, Early Music Alberta’s interpretation of the piece will transport you to the early 17th century in Venice.
Never before performed in Edmonton, Early Music Alberta brings our talented local musicians, with the addition of specialists from across Canada, together for an unforgettable performance. The musicians perform on historic, some seldom heard instruments such as sackbuts, cornetti, dulcian, violone, theorbos and recorders, cello, violins and organ.
This performance will be repeated on Sunday, May 5 in Calgary in collaboration with Early Music Voices (www.earlymusicvoices.ca).
On Saturday afternoon, May 4, there will be the annual community concert. It is a performance dedicated to community ensembles who devote their free time to the historically informed performance of early music.
On Saturday morning, May 4, there will be a chance for community musicians with any instrument to join a Renaissance reading session and there will be the opportunity to learn about menuets and sarabands in a baroque dance workshop. Both of these events are free of charge.
There will also be masterclasses by some of Canada’s finest period performers.