Violist Anne Black and I are assembling a new ensemble consisting of some of the finest musicians in the Boston area, with proven skill in the performance of Baroque music. Our instrumentalists and singers will include leading performers with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, and Aston Magna Festival. We are naming the group the “Peregrine Consort”.
The Cantatas vary in the number of musicians required. We will perform them with one singer per vocal part, an approach supported by the work of musicologists Rifkin, Parrot, and others. The music in our Kickstarter video was taken from a performance I led some years ago at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Woburn, MA, using a similar approach to instrumentation.
The cantatas thrive in a liturgical context. An effective approach taken by a number of churches, often referred to as “Cantata Vespers”, presents each cantata within a liturgy of Evening Prayer. This would be our preferred scenario. While we will not be directly affiliated with any church, part of our purpose will be to carefully plan these events in consultation with local church leaders. We could also present additional liturgical music, and a variety of music in a free concert prior to the Vespers.
A cantata series would be too expensive for most churches to sustain, but an effective solution does exist: crowd sourcing. If a cantata-vespers event is done only occasionally, a few hundred people can support it fairly easily. We suspect that members from several churches along with interested unchurched individuals all working together could do this more easily than just one congregation working alone.
Besides providing a powerful meditative and musical experience, this endeavor would have several other benefits:
- Rather than relying on a single large church for funding, events would be supported by relatively small donations from individuals throughout the region. This experience of shared, direct involvement in the project will positively enhance the presentation and reception of these works.
- Each event would bring attention to local churches.
- Opportunities might arise for different parishes to work together ecumenically, perhaps even hosting events in alternation.
Launching the Ensemble
Starting this new organization will require $7,800. That figure includes a cantata-vespers and concert at my church, Redeemer in Woburn, sometime in May of 2015. It also includes various start-up expenses such as recording the event, and creating a website. We will perform one of the solo cantatas requiring the smallest number of musicians (BWV 51). If we raise at least $10,900, we will present a larger Cantata (BWV 173), and if we reach $14,750 or more, we will present one of the largest (BWV 128). If enough “Cantata Backers” are interested, we will try to make this a recurring thing, maybe once or twice a year, with a different cantata each time.
Next we would aim to replicate this approach in other places. We could also explore other kinds of church partnerships.
How you can help
To get started, please consider making a contribution to this site. Any amount is welcome. We need to reach our stated goal before the deadline. If we do not reach the $7,800 goal, no credit cards will be charged, and our campaign will get nothing. If we receive more than our highest goal, the excess will go toward the next Cantata-Vespers event. If you really like what we are trying to do, please consider giving a little extra: it will help ensure we make it to the goal, and any excess will support the next one.
We would like to give you something to thank you for your support. We have chosen gifts for their fine quality and their possible interest to those who enjoy music and art. All rewards, except for the CD and the private concert, will be available at the event in May, 2015. This will help us to save on shipping costs. If you cannot attend the event, contact us to make arrangements to have your reward shipped to you.
About the Founders
Paul Carlson, Artistic Director
Paul Carlson has served as organist at Lutheran Churches in Massachusetts for over 25 years. He earned his Doctorate in Piano Performance from Boston University in 1998. His original research at BU centered on performance practice, and he has presented performance-practice papers to the American Musicological Society. He has accumulated extensive experience in a variety of collaborative performances, including Baroque music. A founding member of the Opal Ensemble, he has performed with many of the finest and most active musicians in the region. His original compositions for organ are published by GIA Publications.
Anne Black, Personnel Director
Anne Black has over 30 years of experience performing on period instruments (viola, violin, viola d'amore) with the Handel & Haydn Society, Boston Baroque, Aston Magna Festival, Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, and many other groups across the US. She enjoyed the honor of performing on Mozart's Viola in June 2013 for a live performance and recording at WGBH's Fraser Performance Studio, with Aston Magna Festival's Artistic Director, Daniel Stepner, performing on Mozart's Violin. Her article about this experience was published in The “Journal of the American Viola Society” in December of 2013. She was a founding member of the Mannheim Quartet (flute and strings, using period instruments), which can be heard on Titanic Records. As a modern instrumentalist, she performs with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra, as well as with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops as an extra violist. She is principal violist of the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston. She has a special love for the music of Bach, especially the Cantatas, and has performed them extensively with Emmanuel Music in Boston. A passionate performer of chamber music, she is a founding member of the Opal Ensemble. She has served as Personnel Director for Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra of Boston, Assistant Personnel Director for Emmanuel Music, and Office Manager and Executive Assistant at the Constellation Center Project in Cambridge. She received her education at University of California, Los Angeles; Yale University School of Music; and Boston University.
Links to a Few Bach Cantata-Related Sites
Risks and challenges
To the best of our knowledge, this project represents something unique and untested. For this reason, unanticipated aspects may arise. With that already in mind, we have worked hard to prepare for any eventuality. The ensemble will draw from among the finest players in the region. Musicians' compensation will be competitive. We are committed to working with churches, to present events that are deemed appropriate. If this campaign succeeds, we will work to establish a governing structure and also a strategic plan to build on our early successes.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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