CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 20, 2013 – Chamber Music Sundays at Three will present Such Sweete Melodie at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3, in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.
This concert will feature early music on period instruments for voice, theorbo, Baroque violin, violone and harpsichord, and will be directed by Jeffrey Noonan, Southeast associate professor of music.
The program will focus on the early years of the baroque era, featuring the music and performance styles that came to define “baroque” as a break with the old style and something clearly on the edge. Concert goers will hear some of what Jean-Jacques Rousseau considered in 1768 when he observed that “baroque music is that in which the harmony is confused, charged with modulations and dissonances, the melody is harsh and little natural, the intonation difficult, and the movement constrained.”
The three original members of Such Sweete Melodie – Philip Spray, Lindsey Adams and Noonan — first worked together on a recording session led by violone player Spray. Several months later, Spray, Adams and Noonan met in a church in Chicago to read some songs and immediately recognized the potential for good music-making. Although this meeting was an unrehearsed reading session, the church music director hired them on the spot for the church’s concert series. Since then, the three have worked together regularly as Such Sweete Melodie. Early keyboard specialist Charles Metz joined the ensemble in late 2012, bringing both his expertise and his 400-year-old Francesco Poggi virginal to the enterprise. The quartet also welcomes baroque violinist Brandon Christensen, Southeast associate professor of music, into the line-up for the Nov. 3 concert.
While Such Sweete Melodie participates in a wide variety of music that includes Broadway show tunes, Medieval dance music, Argentine tangos and the standards of the classical repertoire, the players have all gravitated to the expressively experimental music of the early 17th century. The instrumentation of the ensemble well matches the musical demands of that repertoire, evidenced in musical scores, contemporary descriptions and iconography. Such Sweete Melodie’s programs focus on the early years of the baroque era, featuring the music and performance styles that came to define “baroque” as a break with the old style and something clearly on the edge. Such Sweete Melodie performs vocative and beautiful songs and early sonatas supported by the dulcet sounds of lutes, guitars, lirone, violone and virginal.
About the Musicians
Adams (mezzo-soprano) has been praised for her “bell-like purity” and her stylish and expressive interpretation of both early and contemporary repertoire. Principal vocalist for Musik Ekklesia, she can be heard on that ensemble’s Grammy nominated recording, “The Vanishing Nordic Chorale.” Adams also appears regularly as a featured soloist with Chicago’s Bella Voce (formerly His Majestie’s Clerkes) and the Callipygian Players. In 2013, she made her debut with both the Chicago Bach Project and the Grant Park Chorus in their respective performances of Bach’s “B Minor Mass” and John Adams’ “Harmonium.” In 2014, Adams will join the AESTAS CONSORT and will perform in the inaugural concert of the Bella Voce Camerata. Adams holds a degree in vocal performance from DePauw University and currently serves as the musical director for the Chicago Montessori School. In addition, she is a piano instructor at the ACM School of Music in Chicago.
Guest artist Christensen (baroque violin), received a Doctor of Musical Arts from Stony Brook University in New York where he studied violin with Mitchell Stern and baroque performance practice with Arthur Haas. He has also studied baroque violin with Stanley Ritchie of Indiana University’s Early Music Institute. An active performer in period music ensembles across the region, Christensen is a former member of the Southeast Baroque Ensemble. His other early music activities include regular performances with the Kingsbury Ensemble and Collegium Vocale St Louis as well as concerts with St. Louis Baroque, Musicke’s Cordes and Kansas City Baroque Consortium at the Jewell Early Music Festival. Christensen plays a 1780 Jakob Klemm violin recently restored to baroque configuration by Gregory Bearden.Metz (virginal and harpsichord) studied piano at Penn State University, beginning his harpsichord studies through private lessons with the legendary Igor Kipnis. In the process of earning a doctoral degree in historical performance practice at Washington University in Saint Louis, he studied with Trevor Pinnock. More recently, Metz has worked with Webb Wiggins and Lisa Crawford at the Oberlin Conservatory. Metz has performed across the country with concerts in Chicago, Louisville, Saratoga, N.Y., Bennington Vt., Louisville, Ky., and at the Jewell Early Music Festival in Liberty, Mo. In the last three years, he has performed a solo recital at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., a solo recital and masterclass on Elizabethan Virginal Music at Oberlin Conservatory and appeared as guest artist in Kansas City for the Bach Aria Soloists and the KC Symphony’s summer program “Summerfest”. Last year in St. Louis, he performed with the St. Louis Chamber Music Society in various programs including a performance of Bach’s “Fifth Brandenburg Concerto” with Nicholas McGegan conducting. Recently, Metz was elected to the board of directors of Early Music America. His international appearances include performances in The Netherlands, Germany and Costa Rica.
Spray (violone, lirone, recorder and Baroque guitar) has appeared with numerous period instrument ensembles across the country in concert and on recordings. Co-founder of the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra under Barthold Kuijken, he also directs Musik Ekklesia, a period instrument ensemble dedicated to performances of sacred Baroque music; the viol ensemble Hexachord; and Pills to Purge Melancholy. Musik Ekklesia’s first recording, “The Vanishing Nordic Choral,” received a glowing review in Gramophone and was nominated for a Grammy in 2010. Spray recorded Monteverdi’s “1610 Vespers” with Seraphic Fire and has toured across this country and internationally with that ensemble. He has also collaborated with Concordia Publishing on several recording/publishing projects. An in-demand ensemble player, Spray appears regularly with numerous early music ensembles not only in his hometown of Indianapolis but in Milwaukee, Louisville, Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Boston and elsewhere.
Trained as a classical guitarist, Noonan (lutes, early guitars and theorbo) has played early plucked instruments for more than 30 years across the Midwest. Based in St. Louis, he has performed throughout the region with various ensembles including Shakespear’s Bande, Musicke’s Cordes, Early Music St. Louis, Bourbon Baroque in Louisville, Ars Antigua in Chicago, and Musik Ekklesia in Indianapolis. As an in-demand accompanist and continuo player, Noonan performs a varied repertoire ranging from 16th-century chanson with solo voice to Handel’s “Messiah” with the St. Louis Symphony. A recognized expert on the early guitar, Noonan has produced two books and articles for Grove on the subject as well as a recent edition of 18th-century violin sonatas for A-R Editions. Noonan holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame (Bachelor of Arts), the Hartt School of Music (Bachelor of Music) and Washington University in St. Louis (Master of Music and doctoral degree). He serves as professor of musicology at Southeast Missouri State University and occasionally teaches lute and coaches early music performance at Washington University in St. Louis.
Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets may also be purchased online at RiverCampusEvents.com.