St. Matthew’s Music Guild will present the next in its 33rd season of concerts in Pacific Palisades on Friday, January 19, 8 p.m., featuring Chatham Baroque, one of the country’s premiere baroque instrumental ensembles and one the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called “One of Pittsburgh’s greatest treasures.” The program is entitled “Awake Sweet Love: Songs and Suites of Olde England” and features the core instrumental trio plus Pascale Beudin, soprano, Cynthia Black, baroque violin, David Morris, bass viol, and David Walker, theorbo and baroque guitar.
Soprano Pascale Beaudin writes, “From the lute songs of Robert Johnson, to the French influence on Henry Purcell’s writing, to Handel’s Italianate oratorios, Baroque English music is extremely varied. One thing is true of all English composers: their vocal music reflects the bounciness, liveliness, and distinct flavor of the English language.”
Sir Roger North, who chronicled musical life in late seventeenth-century England, applauded Purcell’s special genius, referencing his ability to, “match the inflections of the English language to sublime melodies.” North also noted a particular habit of Charles II, saying, “and it was and is yet a mode among the Monsieurs, always to ‘act’ the music––tap the beat with their feet––which habit the King had got and never in his life could endure any that he could not ‘act’ keeping the time, which made the common andante or else the ‘step tripla’ ye only musical styles in court at his time.”
Along with songs and instrumental works by Johnson and Purcell, Chatham Baroque will offer a pair of “Royal Consort Sets” by William Lawes, arias from Purcell’s stage works The Virtuous Wife and the Fairy Queen and traditional “airs” including the beloved “Greensleeves.”
Chatham Baroque has been exciting audiences for 25 years with dazzling technique and lively interpretations of music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries played on copies of instruments from that period. The artistically nimble ensemble of Andrew Fouts (violin), Patricia Halverson (viola da gamba), and Scott Pauley (theorbo) curates the finest of guest artists to perform with them throughout the season, allowing for repertoire ranging from well-known masterpieces to obscure gems. They also tour nationally and internationally and present numerous early childhood and community outreach programs.
The ensemble has recorded seven CDs on the Dorian label and three independent CDs on the Chatham Baroque label, the latest of which is “No Holds Barred.”
Soprano Pascale Baudin began her career on stage with the Atelier Lyrique de l’Opera de Montreal. She appears on operatic stages in Canada (Opéra de Québec), in France (Angers-Nantes Opéra, Opéra de Marseille, Opéra National de Lorraine, Opéra de Metz) and the United States (Opera Lafayette) in roles such as Zerlina, Papagena, Fiordiligi, Oscar, Adèle de Formoutiers and Nannetta. The New York Times praised her shimmering voice and girlish sassiness, while the Washington Post reported that she sang “the aria ‘Per pieta’ with such deliberate quiet elegance and restraint that it was a highlight not just of the evening, but also of my year.”
Proud of her Acadian heritage, Pascale Beaudin frequently performs at home, with Symphony New Brunswick and Opera New Brunswick, as well as at the Lamèque International Baroque Music Festival, the Indian River Chamber Music Festival and the Barachois Summer Music Festival.
Pascale Beaudin has received national recognition with government grants from the Canadian Arts Council, the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec and the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation.
Guest artists Cynthia Black, David Morris, and David Walker perform extensively with baroque ensembles from Appolo’s Fire, Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Smithsonian Chamber Players to early music festivals in Boston, Bloomington, Carmel and across Europe.
The concert is underwritten by the Edwin W. Pauley Foundation.
All concerts in the Music Guild’s series take place on Fridays at 8pm, in the architecturally and acoustically exciting St. Matthew’s Church, 1031 Bienveneda Ave., Pacific Palisades. Admission is $35. The Music Guild offers discounted season passes. For more information, visit the Music Guild website: MusicGuildOnline.org or call (310) 573-7422.