Saturday, January 31, 2009

St Philip Organ Update

Here's the latest pic, from organ builder Paul Fritts, of the instrument his shop is currently building for St Philip Presbyterian Church. It's very exciting to see it under construction, after several years of planning and patiently waiting for our turn in line. Some pics are indeed worth the proverbial thousand words, and this one's worth quite a bit more in actual $$. For more images of the organ case and chests in Paul's Tacoma shop, see St Philip Organ. This gives you an idea of the instrument's size: the side pedal towers and central tower will reach to within a few inches of the ceiling in the St Philip rear gallery. The swell enclosure is visible near the top of the case, as are a few of the walkboards and windchests. Delivery is scheduled for November of this year, so stay tuned for more updates.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Favorite singers on view downtown

For those who haven't yet seen it, the current production of Britten's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at Houston Grand Opera is well worth it. It's a charming production and a winning cast, which features two favorite singers: soprano Laura Claycomb and mezzo-soprano Marie Lenormand. Laura was around for our New Year's Eve bash (see the photos at ALH New Year's ) and Marie joins us on Feb 20 for "Women on the Verge," singing Haydn's marvelous setting of "Arianna auf Naxos." In the meantime, go catch both of them at the Wortham Center for a gorgeous account of the Britten.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Purcell concert

Houston Early Music patrons were fortunate indeed to have heard last night the viol consort Fretwork, with mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson, in a program of Purcell's Fantazias and Songs. I was in heaven: the counterpoint in these pieces is nothing short of stupendous for its time, always interesting and always fresh -- and oftentmes very surprising! And Ms Wilkinson is about as good as it gets in this repertoire. Kudos to Houston Early Music for inviting them to Houston; let's hope they come back soon!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Hats off, Henry!

2009 marks Henry Purcell's 350th birthday, and to celebrate, Houston Early Music is sponsoring an all-Purcell program featuring the viol consort Fretwork along with mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson. The concert is this Saturday, Jan 17 at 8 pm at Christ Church Cathedral. Yours truly gives the pre-concert lecture at 7 pm in the cathedral's chapel (between the Cathedral and the Great Hall). The program includes Purcell's still astonishing Fantasies for Viols from 1680 -- one of my "desert island" collections -- and various songs, including "Music for Awhile" and the great Lament from the end of "Dido and Aeneas." For more information on the concert: Houston Early Music Hope to see you there!