I went to three concerts today, even though we had tickets for a fourth and gave them away. At this time in the week, we have to say that all the music has been just fabulous, but the body is protesting from the sensory overload, jet lag and lack of sleep. By the end of the day, I figured I’ve been to seventeen concerts plus one church service so far!
My first concert started at 9 am with a group called Ensemble SDG, consisting of Edith Hines, violin; John Chappell Stowe, organ; and Philip Spray, violone. The program was called Youth, Power, and Wisdom; Biber’s Pictures of the Life of Christ, and was played on six different period violins, all in different tunings! We were amazed at the virtuosity and versatility of the violinist, and her ability to play all these violins with obviously different fingerings. She also positioned the violins at about chest level (not under her chin as is usual), and she told me later that this was the position that was depicted in paintings. They also used a continuo organ which was unusual for its presence of a reed stop in addition to flutes.
Joey Fala and I then went to the Exhibition — always a big part of the Boston Early Music Festival, where instrument makers display their reproductions of period instruments for sale in addition to sheet music vendors and a CD store. I will show you a few of the instruments here then tell you about the remaining two concerts in another post.