Apollo’s Fire will be bringing its classy and artistic brand of period music and performances to the Akron area once more for its beginning concert tour of the season. Four singers (Nell Snaidas, soprano; Jeffrey Strauss, baritone; Karim Sulayman, tenor haut-contre; and Oliver Mercer, tenor) will join four virtuoso string players, along with lutes and exotic percussion, for a musical journey back to the 17th century.
The program — “Passacaglia: Laments, Madrigals & Dances from Monteverdi & Charpentier” — which has been created by founder and artistic director of Apollo’s Fire, Jeannette Sorrell, seeks to explore the popular ground-bass patterns of the early Baroque, such as those repetitive musical forms like the passacaglia, the ciaccona and the passamezzo. The resulting music of that period revealed “a rich tapestry of emotions — from prayerful and serene to joyous and wild,” Sorrell has noted.
Ground-bass patterns, or ostinatos, are bass patterns that are repeated over and over again, and often exactly. A familiar example, someone noted, is Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero.” For Apollo’s Fire, the samples will come out of the Baroque era.
Sorrell calls the program a “17th-century jam session with sacred moments,” for as she put it, “the ground-bass patterns such as the passacaglia, the ciaconna and the passamezzo served as the basis for jazz-like improvisations in the early Baroque,” adding that “they were also used by composers as the basis for haunting and uplifting sacred music.”
The program will present works by the great Claudio Monteverdi, including the famous “Lamento della Ninfa” as sung by Nell Snaidas, whose interpretation of this piece was described as “a wrenching account” by The New York Times.
The program will also include works by such artists as Marc-Antoine Charpentier (“Magnificat a 3 voix sur une basse obligee”), Samuel Capricornus (“O Felix Jucunditas”) and Barbara Strozzi (“L’Amante segreto”), along with the musical voices of Jeffrey Strauss, Karim Sulayman and Oliver Mercer.
Apollo’s Fire will perform “Passacaglia: Laments, Madrigals & Dances from Monteverdi & Charpentier” at 7:30 p.m. in Fairlawn Lutheran Church, 3415 W. Market St., Akron; 216-320-0012; www.apollosfire.org. Tickets cost from $21-$45.