The next concert — or, concert-plus — of the Community Arts Music Association’s Masterseries will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St.
For the evening, the Lobero stage will be transformed into a kind of musical planetarium, as the Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra led by music director Jeanne Lamon offers a multimedia presentation — mostly musical, however — called “The Galileo Project: Music of the Spheres,” which celebrates the year 1609 in a unique way. The project was conceived and the musical program drawn up by Alison Mackay. Shaun Smyth will narrate.
The year 1609 was an important one in Western history, and not just because it kept 1608 from banging too forcefully into 1610. Among other events, 1609 witnessed the demonstration of Galileo Galilei’s new invention — the telescope — and the publication of Claudio Monteverdi’s new invention — the opera Orfeo. Now, 400 years later, we are still working out the implications of these inventions. Which of the two you consider more important should tell you a lot about your priorities (I vote for Monteverdi).
The concert will be divided into five sections: The Harmony of the Spheres I with a concerto by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741); Music from Phaëton, a 1683 opera by Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-87); Music from the Time of Galileo, with selections by Monteverdi (1567-1643), Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665), Michelagnolo Galilei (the scientist’s nephew, 1575-1631), Biagio Marini (1594-1663) and Henry Purcell (1659-1695); The Dresden Festival of the Planets, featuring works by Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764), George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767), Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679-1745), Silvius Leopold Weiss (1687-1750) and an 18th-century scion of the family “Anonymous”; and The Harmony of the Spheres II, wrapping it up with two works by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750).
Any concert that features multiple works by Monteverdi and Purcell is worth the price of admission.
As a youthful stagehand, I participated in majestic productions of The Coronation of Poppea and Dido and Aeneas in the same year, but I was the embodiment of Oscar Wilde’s remark that youth is wasted on the young. Thirty years would pass before I fell in love with Purcell; 40 before I came under the spell of Monteverdi — probably the noblest composer who ever lived. Don’t wait that long.
Tickets to “The Galileo Project” are available from CAMA at 805.966.4324 or through the Lobero box office at 805.963.0761.
— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at email@example.com.