Rebekah Ahrendt holds the artist's diploma in viola da gamba and historical performance practice from the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. Currently, she is a graduate student in historical musicology at UC Berkeley.
Articles by this Author
In the first of its two programs at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church this past weekend, Le Concert des Nations presented a potpourri of baroque classics titled “Les Goûts Réunis.” The title really ought to have been “Greatest Hits of the Baroque,” or — better — “Savall’s Number Ones.” Of the program’s six pieces, four were bona fide classics, the others evident favorites of Jordi Savall, the ensemble’s director.
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra appeared in a different guise Saturday at Berkeley's First Congregational Church. Under the baton of guest conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini, the musicians of the orchestra demonstrated their versatility in a program that focused on the concerto grosso and included special guest star soprano Marta Almajano.
In the last decade of his life, Haydn entertained a number of visits from Georg August Griesinger, who transcribed their conversations and published them as a series of biographical notices. One of the most famous and controversial statements to appear in Griesinger's biography was one in which Haydn describes being cut off from the world at Esterháza, with no critics around to confuse or annoy him.
What a perfect day. On Saturday I had the pleasure of listening to the Miró Quartet at the Florence Gould Theater of San Francisco's Legion of Honor. All my regrets about missing part of a beautifully sunny afternoon were dispelled by the performance of this first-rate ensemble. Two favorite works by Mozart and Beethoven joined a lesser-known excursion from Toru Takemitsu to form a well-balanced program.
Continuing a long-standing tradition, the San Francisco Bach Choir presented a joyful holiday program on Saturday night. The large sanctuary of Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco resounded with Renaissance and early Baroque works, as well as traditional music of the season. SFBC's program, titled "Psallite! A Candlelight Christmas," featured the 60-plus member choir, as well as four soloists from the Pacific Boychoir, accompanied by strings and keyboards.
Those inclined to universalize have often pointed to the nearly uninterrupted performance tradition and seemingly unending appeal of Bach as evidence of his greatness. As part of her three-day Bach Festival, Canadian pianist Angela Hewitt was joined at Berkeley's First Congregational Church last Thursday by German cellist Daniel Müller-Schott. The concert included all three of Bach's Gamba Sonatas, plus one of the solo suites for cello and a keyboard partita. Their performance revealed yet another of the many faces of Bach, one that is well-suited to a contemporary audience.
In 1781, Joseph Haydn wrote to his publisher Artaria about recent performances of his Stabat Mater in Paris: "They were amazed to find me so exceptionally pleasing in vocal composition, but I am not amazed, and they have heard nothing yet; if only they could hear my short opera L'isola disabitata ... for I assure you that such work has not yet been heard in Paris, and perhaps not in Vienna either." Until now, this work had not even been heard in the Bay Area.
In a concert Friday night at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, the [email protected] festival featured the world-class artists for which it is known, playing music both familiar and strange. Although a theme like this evening's, “Death and Transfiguration,” might at first glance appear to promise a wallow in melancholy (even lacking as the program did the obvious choice of Richard Strauss' famous meditation on the subject), the intelligent selection of pieces ensured variety and light amid the gloom.
On a January morning a few years ago, I received a telephone call from an eminent professor of classical music. "Guess whose birthday it is!" he giggled. "No idea." His hint, "Your least favorite of the great composers!" caused me to reply, "Ah — it must be Mozart!"
In 1781, Joseph Haydn announced the appearance of a new set of string quartets, "composed in a new and special way, because I have written none in 10 years." The six quartets would appear as Opus 33, and would be Haydn's first authorized quartet publication in accordance with the terms of a contract he signed in 1779 with Prince Nicolaus Esterházy. With one of these works, No.
In his annual pilgrimage to the First Congregational Church in Berkeley last weekend, gambist extraordinaire Jordi Savall showed Berkeley a different side from his appearances of late. Friday night's Cal Performances program, titled "Marin Maris and Antoine Forqueray: L'Ange et le Diable," highlighted works by the two most famous viol players of the French Baroque. Minus the big band, and accompanied only by harpsichordist Pierre Hantaï and lutenist/guitarist Xavier Diaz-Latorre, the audience had the opportunity to experience the more intimate aspects of Savall's art.