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ENTERTAINMENT
October 27, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Is it possible to create a "tempesta" in the spartan acoustical environs of the American Philosophical Society on Saturday? Usually, one hears the baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare in churchier acoustics suitable to the smaller sounds made by their historically responsible performances. And those smaller sounds seemed all the more slender in the "Zimmermann's Coffeehouse" program of popular Bach pieces that are generally heard in more mainstream orchestral performances. Still, most often at Tempesta concerts one's ears adjust quickly and happily, especially when featured soloists deliver the kind of vocal alchemy of soprano Julianne Baird.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 18, 2011 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Tempesta di Mare threw itself a grand 10th birthday party last weekend, with a record-high assemblage of musicians - usually 25 were onstage, wind, brass, and all. That'll galvanize audiences, in a move as tactically intelligent as it was celebratory: Musicians take charge of their own promotion (who else will these days?). And with it came one of the group's most successful musical reclamations. Our 21st-century sensibility rebels mightily against the idea that a cultivated piece of classical music (or any music)
NEWS
October 27, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The more that Bach's Brandenburg Concertos are rescued from big-orchestra performances, the more singular they seem. Their lack of standardized instrumentation, brilliant use of form, explosions of individual virtuosity and the unlikely alliances among instruments make them orchestral concertos with a never-before-and-never-again quality. The truth, however, is that Bach synthesized old ideas more than he created new ones. And Tempesta di Mare's season-long cycle of the Brandenburg Concertos revealed how these works hardly appeared out of nowhere, and have antecedents in places you'd think to look (though not all that hard)
ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
No matter that Tempesta di Mare has been giving enterprising concerts at venues as prestigious as New York's Frick Collection and making good recordings for the Chandos label. For its debut at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater on Saturday, the Philadelphia baroque orchestra hatched a red-letter-day program that at times took the group too far from its comfort zone. Titled Apollo at Play , the program had its best moments in repertoire in which yester-era gods were a more immediate presence in the culture's mythology, namely works from the 18th century, when plays and operas were full of mythical figures treated with the casualness of distant relatives rather than lofty deities.
NEWS
February 2, 2009 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The less-is-best philosophy of the early music movement can always be counted on for a revelation or two, whether the musical subtractions take the form of smaller sounds from fewer strings, less vibrato, or even a lack of chairs (forcing players to stand). But the first collaboration between the scaled-down Philadelphia Singers and the baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare Saturday in a program of Vivaldi and Bach at Old St. Joseph's Church had the more obvious absence of a conductor.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 9, 2013 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Musical immersion is taking on different forms with J.S. Bach this season. While Bach's Brandenburg Concertos and cantatas often have been presented in an intensive cluster, both Tempesta di Mare and Choral Arts Philadelphia are putting the composer in context: Programs have a single Bach piece surrounded by antecedents and contemporaries. In"Brandenburg 5 & Co.," Tempesta's season-opening program Saturday at the Arch Street Meeting House, one came away contemplating the unthinkable: What if Bach's Brandenburg Concertos hadn't survived?
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 2015 | By Daniel Webster, For The Inquirer
If Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Liszt had only listened to Rameau, their after-the-battle music might have achieved a better reputation. The baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare, playing parts of Rameau's Les Fetes de Polyhymne , made that point in weekend concerts at Curtis Institute. The instrumental sections of this 1745 music, celebrating a French victory in the War of the Austrian Succession, proclaim pride, equate formality and achievement, and find grace in a musical narrative built on metrical and harmonic wit. Tempesta di Mare deployed its full complement for this season finale.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 11, 2014 | By Daniel Webster, For The Inquirer
A little wordplay in its title set the tone for Tempesta di Mare's exploration of late French baroque tone painting in its concert Saturday at the Perelman Theater. The ensemble, ending a season-long study of French bases for much of European music, called its final thrust "Elements. " That pointed to the fundament on which much music rests, but also to Parisian delight in portraying fire, earth, air, and water. Just how prophetic the composers were was summarized in the first chord of Jean-Fery Rebel's Les Elements . To portray chaos, Rebel's orchestra played a jam of a full octave, an effect like that of pounding a forearm on the keyboard.
NEWS
October 22, 2007 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
Who got there first was important when the South Pole was located and Mount Everest was first climbed. But in music, such distinctions are slippery. The Elements, the little-known ballet by 18th-century French composer Jean-Fery Rebel, was played Friday by the baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare at Trinity Episcopal Church in Swarthmore, beginning with intense dissonances conceived centuries before Ives, in a portrayal of natural phenomena decades before Berlioz. Was history rewritten?
NEWS
October 25, 2004 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
The worst thing you can say about an early-music concert these days is that it was nice. What a change from 20 years ago, when nice little "burgomeister" orchestras from small European capitals barnstormed America playing decent versions of generic-sounding concertos. During the weekend at St. Mark's Church in Center City, two of Philadelphia's best early-music groups performed programs full of unfamiliar composers, from Graupner to Cunelier, and were as meticulously assembled as the individual pieces on them.
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ARTICLES BY DATE
ENTERTAINMENT
May 24, 2016 | By David Patrick Stearns, CLASSICAL MUSIC CRITIC
George Frideric Handel made a cameo appearance in the 1994 film Farinelli, and was about the only presence that wasn't ridiculously romanticized. He swept in and out - irate, impatient, imposing, and fully aware of his superiority to his peers. That image came to mind Saturday during Tempesta di Mare's Saturday concert Handel & His Frenemies at the Kimmel Center: Smart, period-instrument performances put his music next to often-referenced but rarely heard composers such as Thomas Arne, Maurice Greene, and John Pepusch with unexpected benefits.
NEWS
May 15, 2016
It was war and it was ruthless. . . . Handel and his Frenemies is Tempesta di Mare's closing concert of the season at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater. It features Handel's own Il Pastor Fido suite and Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 3, but also works by lesser-known names such as Arne, Bononcini, and Keiser. The surprise is often how good these other composers were - but also how Handel bested them. Information: 215-755-8776 or www.tempestadimare.org
ENTERTAINMENT
March 8, 2016 | By Matthew Westphal, For The Inquirer
Well, it's a good thing the Social Justice Warrior brigade didn't find out about Tempesta di Mare's concerts last weekend. The program, titled "The Nations" and heard Saturday evening at the American Philosophical Society, dealt in some dastardly ethnic stereotypes. Well, so the SJWs might say. In fact, it was easy to shake off any moral concerns because those caricatures are now 300 years old and hardly recognizable to us in 2016, so the excellent program notes and witty spoken introduction by Tempesta directors Gwyn Roberts and Richard Stone were key to letting us in on the jokes.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 23, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, STAFF MUSIC CRITIC
Did a tour bus suddenly let out in front of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul around the same time as its Friday Christmas concert? No, the line stretching down the windswept block was leading to the first joint concert by Tempesta di Mare, Piffaro, and Choral Arts Philadelphia. No doubt their combined mailing lists helped bring together a large crowd for three weekend concerts, plus an ambitious program titled "Advent Vespers, Dresden 1619. " Because Vespers services tend to be assembled rather than composed from whole cloth, much leeway is possible, allowing the three collaborating ensembles to come up with a varied but stylistically coherent cross-section of music heard at that time and place, mainly Heinrich Schutz, Michael Praetorius, and Samuel Scheidt.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 27, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Is it possible to create a "tempesta" in the spartan acoustical environs of the American Philosophical Society on Saturday? Usually, one hears the baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare in churchier acoustics suitable to the smaller sounds made by their historically responsible performances. And those smaller sounds seemed all the more slender in the "Zimmermann's Coffeehouse" program of popular Bach pieces that are generally heard in more mainstream orchestral performances. Still, most often at Tempesta concerts one's ears adjust quickly and happily, especially when featured soloists deliver the kind of vocal alchemy of soprano Julianne Baird.
ENTERTAINMENT
June 9, 2015 | By Daniel Webster, For The Inquirer
If Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Liszt had only listened to Rameau, their after-the-battle music might have achieved a better reputation. The baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare, playing parts of Rameau's Les Fetes de Polyhymne , made that point in weekend concerts at Curtis Institute. The instrumental sections of this 1745 music, celebrating a French victory in the War of the Austrian Succession, proclaim pride, equate formality and achievement, and find grace in a musical narrative built on metrical and harmonic wit. Tempesta di Mare deployed its full complement for this season finale.
ENTERTAINMENT
April 28, 2015 | By Daniel Webster, For The Inquirer
When Tempesta di Mare explores music's past, it reminds listeners that the future has a lot to learn from it. This time, the baroque music ensemble uncovered Parisian favorites Saturday at Friends Meeting in Old City. In that unadorned setting, the five instrumentalists and soprano Rosa Lamoreaux offered elegantly ornamented singing and dances and a glimpse into the serious musical bases for aristocratic entertainment. Is it art or is it entertainment? Paris had no problem with that question.
NEWS
April 27, 2015
Sunday Sound and vision Composer and pianist Leonardo Le San and the dance troupe Ballet 180 teamed up to create Hybrid , a meditation on technological production and the body. The program goes on at the Painted Bride Art Center , 230 Vine St., at 3 and 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30; $15 students. Call 215-925-9914. Go for baroque The baroque orchestra Tempesta di Mare , with soprano Rosa Lamoreaux as guest, plays works by Nicolas Bernier, François Couperin, Jacques Morel, Jean-Féry Rebel, and Thomas-Louis Bourgeois at 4 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill , 8855 Germantown Ave. Tickets are $24 and $34. Call 215-755-8776.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 11, 2015 | By Matthew Westphal, For The Inquirer
Performing incidental music from a movie or play in concert can be a gamble: Will a score never meant to engage the audience on its own hold the stage by itself? Tempesta di Mare played its hand deftly on Saturday night at the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater, bringing verve, grace, and spark to music that wasn't always worthy of such treatment but did always benefit from it. The first half of the program was music heard in London theaters in the decades on each side of 1700.
NEWS
March 6, 2015 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
Maybe the French were too busy being charming, refined and picturesque to write down their music with great specificity during the glory years of the 18th century. Yet Tempesta di Mare, a baroque orchestra used to making educated musical guesses, is putting that music at the center of a multi-year, multi-disc project titled Comedie et Tragedie . It fills a void where many hesitate to tread. "If you look at the programming around the country, you see German and Italian, and no French," said Gwyn Roberts, Tempesta co-founder.
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