Vivaldi Project Newsletter
December, 2021 Issue
In this Issue
Volume 3 of Discovering the Classical String Trio is here!
Critical Praise for Volume 3
Remembering The Vivaldi Project's Founding Angel, Roy Thomas
Meet our new Artistic Advisory Board
Teaching and Performing in the Time of Covid
The Vivaldi Project's video and audio library
Performance plans going forward
Giving Tuesday Fundraiser
The Vivaldi Project is thrilled to announce the release of Volume 3 in their critically acclaimed series, Discovering the Classical String Trio.
After our successful 2020 Kickstarter campaign (honored by Kickstarter as "a project we love"), we were set to record that April in the beautiful Troy Savings Bank Music Hall. This, as we all know, was not to be. But we kept an eye out for an opportunity, and in November of 2020, with quarantining and testing precautions, we were able to gather to rehearse and record. The hall acoustics were every bit as gorgeous as we were led to believe, and it was pure joy to play together again and work with our wonderful recording engineer, Richard Price of Candlewood Digital, and MSR's Robert LaPorta.
Our original intention was to begin recording two volumes simultaneously, a number of trios destined for one volume and the others for the second volume focusing more specifically on the Viennese string trio of the late 18th century. It takes time to immerse ourselves in each new set of trios and to then perform them a number of times so that we can really explore their musical possibilities. The two volumes have evolved as we have been doing this and so it made sense to record the trios as we were ready with them. But given the uncertainty of the times, we decided not to wait until we could meet again to record, and opted instead to combine the completed recordings into a single packed volume including nearly 80 minutes of music! There is incredible variety in volume 3: two early works, one from Sammartini in Italy and from Hofmann in Vienna; a dramatic, almost Beethovenian trio from the Venetian trained Maddalena Sirmen, a trio by Zannetti showcasing the viola, John Antes' distinctly American trio, and two High Classical Viennese works by Hoffmeister, and Wranitzky.
Click to purchase from MSR, Amazon, or listen on Spotify.
Volume 3 is recieving the same kind of positive critical response as did volumes 1 & 2.
It is gratifying to recieve such positive responses from reviewers who seem to really understand what we're trying to do with this rarely-heard repertoire, and how performing on period instruments helps us to discover the wonderful and expressive nuances of the 18th-century musical style. But in some ways it is all the more meaningful when a reviewer (third excerpt below), who at the outset admits they aren't expecting anything beyond merely "pleasant," appreciates what we do.
"The strong musical values of the previous volumes of the series are still in place: exuberance, tightly knit ensemble, good intonation, and a warm and expressive singing line. All period string playing should sound like this. In fact, I would urge anyone who thinks he “doesn’t like period instruments” to give any of these discs a listen; they might change minds. All . . . of the music on this album of rare composers is worth hearing once, but that of the Venetian lady and the American missionary show such fire and originality as to be listened to repeatedly. The Vivaldi Project should record more works of Maddalena Sirmen and John Antes as soon as possible."
FANFARE MAGAZINE, JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021
"Subtlety and unaffected beauty are the watchwords for all the small-scale pieces being explored by the members of the Vivaldi Project in their first-rate series of recordings of classical string trios. . . Field, Nyquist and Vial are so well-versed in the style of the period they are exploring here that their performances flow with natural ease that fits these works perfectly. . . the charm they all possess is so well extracted and reproduced by the performers that the CD is a delightful listening experience from start to finish."
INFODAD.COM, OCTOBER 2021
"[Sirmen's] sonata starts dramatically, and throughout provides a variety of musical ideas, textures and rhythms – an unalloyed gem. . . There is a very clear absorption of the Viennese style on display in [Francesco Zannetti's] two-movement work: elegance and humour abound. Not ground-breaking stuff, but definitely a cut above the average.
[The Vivaldi Project's] emphasis on the lesser-known composers, despite their name, is to be applauded, as is MSR Classics for supporting them in this series. They play on period instruments without much/any vibrato, which may deter some, but I can assure you that the sound is not harsh, aggressive or tiring. If it had been, I wouldn’t have made it to the end of the disc. None of my reservations about the music can be put at the door of the performers, who are first-rate. The vitality imparted in the performance of the Sirmen demonstrates that. The booklet notes, written by cellist Stephanie Vial, are an excellent mix of history and musical analysis, and the sound quality is very natural."
MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL, NOVEMBER 2021
Roy Thomas, In Memoriam
Liz Field remembers The Vivaldi Project's very first supporter
We are saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend and supporter, Roy R. Thomas. I first met Roy in May, 2007 during the intermission of an Opera Lafayette performance at the Clarice Center at the University of MD. Roy was a familiar face in the audiences in the Washington DC area, so I was not surprised to see him sidle up to the edge of the stage at the beginning of our break between acts.
He waved me over and with his characteristic impish smile casually asked, “what are you up to these days?" I started musing about vague thoughts I had of putting together an ensemble for a performance of Vivaldi's Four Seasons, rambling incoherently as one does while bent half over the side of a stage with a violin sandwiched under your arm. He listened patiently until his lovely wife Carol approached and admonished him, "Roy let her go to the restroom!" Roy turned to her camly and replied, "Just a minute honey, Elizabeth is fundraising." I was stunned! I had no idea that was what I was doing! Then he said, "How much do you need to get started?"
By the end of the performance, I held in my hand a check for $1200 from Roy Thomas, enough to begin hiring musicians for a startup concert a couple of months later. Thank You Roy, you were our 'Founding Angel.' You will be greatly missed.
Introducing The Vivaldi Project's Artistic Advisory Board
We are honored to introduce an inspiring group of musical colleagues, scholars and friends who have agreed to serve on our new Artistic Advisory Board. They have already helped us in so many ways, with organizational advice, concert planning, broadening our circle of connections, proof-reading program notes, and so much more. Read more about this extraordinary group.
Charlotte Mattax Moersch
Teaching and Performing in the Time of Covid
While in-person concerts are slowly and cautiously beginning to reappear, we look back on a most unusual year which has offered the opportunity for teaching in a variety of locations without even leaving the house. So many wonderful institutions and organizations found creative solutions to keeping the music going under unprecedented and difficult conditions. Over the course of the 20-21 school year, Liz and Stephanie gave workshops for students at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University, and for Summertrios program. Individually they also gave presentations for McGill University, Duke University, The Emerson Avenue Salon, The North Carolina Cello Society, Mallarme Chamber Players and The Cello Cammerata.
Our April 8th concert for the Gotham Early Music Scene's Midtown series came just a little bit to soon for us to live stream the event in NYC. We were not yet fully vaccinated and traveling seemed unwise. But we were able to create a video for the event with three works from our recently completed recording. We each provided home videos of ourselves with thoughts and demonstrations to introduce the trios and added pictures and images to accompany the music. Especially fun was the chance to talk to the audience (via Zoom) after the video was aired.
The Vivaldi Project's Video and Audio Library
As a result of these pandemic activities, we have added considerably to our video and audio library, which we invite you to visit on our youtube chanel. Here are our most recent additions, to which we hope to contribute more soon.
WBAA Arts Spotlight: The Vivaldi Project has a new album out, Discovering the Classical String Trio, Vol. 3 on the MSR Classics label. West Central Indiana resident Allison Nyquist, who plays both violin and viola in the trio recently talked to WBAA’s Greg Kostraba about the release.
Demystifying Baroque Performance style: Period vs Modern Instruments
Live at Emerson Avenue Salons on September 19, 2021. Elizabeth Field talks about performing music by Bach and his contemporaries on both period and modern violin --what we learn from period instruments and what we can translate to modern playing.
Vivaldi Project Midtown concert April 8, 2021
Works from CD volume 3 by Maddalena Sirmen, Francesco Zannetti, and Paul Wranitzky. Slide show with introductions to the works by Elizabeth, Allison, and Stephanie
Music at St. Albans Sunday, January 16th Davidson, NC
Baroque and Beyond Sunday, March 20th Chapel Hill, NC
The Music House Greenville, NC March, TBA
Friends of Music Sunday April 3rd Shepherdstown, WV
MIdtown Concerts Thursday, April 7 New York, NY
Lebanon Valley College Sunday, April 10th Annville, PA
Emerson Avenue Salon Sunday, May 2nd Mclean, VA
Part 2, Demystifying Baroque Performance style
In November, we held a trio retreat in Charleston, WV (the triangulated midpoint between our three locations) to work on new repertoire for our upcoming concerts—and Volume 4 perhaps?
Our deepest gratitude to all who contributed to our Facebook Giving Tuesday Fundraiser! You make it possible for us to continue to develop our educational and performance projects!
H.W. Addison · Lena Andaya · Lewis Baratz ·Barry Bauguess ·Cindy Baum-Baicker · Elizabeth Bielman · Aileen Chanco · Marion Meakem · Mary Ogletree · Richard Price · Judy Rand · Suzanne Rousso · Ronit Seter · Roy Sonne · Deborah Wassertzug · Laura Wu · Maryelena Zaccardelli · Matthew Zisk