October 27, 2005
Concert at CW's DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museums features music from early America, Britain
The ensemble, Music for a while, will present a concert, “‘My days have been so wondrous free’: Music of Early America and Elizabethan England,” at 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12 at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. The concert is included in museum admission.
The first part of the program will explore the music of early America using the songs of composer and signer of the Declaration of Independence, Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791). In addition to his duties as a lawyer in Philadelphia and member of the Convention of 1787 that drafted the Constitution, Hopkinson was a musician of considerable merit. Apart from the few Hopkinson compositions that survive, favorite keyboard works and songs of some of the best European composers also survive. Music for a while will perform music from baroque composers Henry Purcell, Domenico Scarlatti and Antonio Vivaldi in various combinations for lutes, voice, recorder and violin from this collection.
The other portion of the program will feature music from the court of Elizabeth I, the Virgin Queen, for whom the Commonwealth of Virginia was named. The trio will perform tender airs, joyous dances and intricate fantasies composed by musicians for Her Majesty.
The New England-based trio performs entirely on authentic instruments and features Michael Albert as countertenor, and also on baroque violin and recorder. Scott Lemire and Seth Warner will perform on a variety of lute family instruments.
Albert studied voice and oboe performance at the University of Southern Maine School of Music. His awards include the Lillian Nordica, Louise Meyer Chamber Music and the Maine Governor’s Award for Musical Excellence. His numerous recording credits include the soundtracks to the PBS documentaries, “Haiti’s Small Miracles” and “Sweet Ambition,” which both received a nomination for an Emmy and a prenomination for a Grammy award.
Lemire recently has appeared in productions of Monteverdi’s “Orfeo” and Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas.” He also has performed at the 2003 Boston Early Music Festival, the International Baroque Institute at the Longy School of Music, as well as live performances on Vermont and Maine public radio. He currently is preparing his first solo recording of music for the 10 course lute.
Warner holds a master’s degree in musicology from the University of New Hampshire. Performance credits include the 2003 and 2005 Boston Early Music Festivals, and live appearances on Boston’s WGBH and both Vermont and Maine Public Radio’s classical music programs. He now maintains a busy private teaching studio based in Portland, Maine. His debut CD, “The Leaves be Green: English lute duets,” was recorded with Scott Lemire.
The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s award winning DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, supported by the DeWitt Wallace Endowment Fund, displays the Foundation’s exceptional collection of British and American decorative arts. Entered through the reconstructed Public Hospital of 1773, the museum is on Francis Street near Merchants Square and is open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Admission is included in any multi-day Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or separate museums ticket. For program information call (757) 220-7724.