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Connecticut Early Music Festival to Present Westerly Concert | Entertainment

NEW LONDON. The Connecticut Early Music Society is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month with the annual Connecticut Early Music Festival, a return to the live stage and a series of six events featuring over 60 musicians that will feature from Niantic to New London. and from Noank to Westerly.

With concerts from J.S. Bach to Purcell culminating in works by Schubert and Mozart, five concerts and one recording master class will take place from June 10 to 19 at various locations in the Bi-State region.

The festival begins on Friday at 7:30 pm at Noanka Baptist Church with a program entirely dedicated to Bach, and continues on Saturday with a program at 7:30 pm at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Niantica with the Goldberg Variations. At the concert, harpsichordist Peter Sykes will perform one of the most technically complex pieces written for keyboards.

On Sunday, the festival moves to the George Kent Concert Hall in Westerly for a 5:00 pm concert titled Macbeth’s Restoration. The program The Age of the Restoration (1664) will feature actors, singers and dancers performing an adaptation of Sir William Davenant’s Scottish Play to music by Henry Purcell, Matthew Locke and John Eccles. It is performed in collaboration with the Henry Purcell Society of Boston and Seven Times Salt, specialists in 17th century music.

The next concert, “Schubertiade”, will take place on Friday, June 17 at 7:30 pm at the Red Barn at Mitchell College in New London. A reenactment of a musical evening at Schubert’s house. The program includes Schubert’s Sonatina in D major for violin and piano, his Arpeggione sonata, piano selections and Beethoven’s song cycle An Die Ferne Geliebte.

On Saturday, June 18, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Niantica will host a recording workshop with Emily O’Brien. The recorder was the entertainment of Henry VIII, the musical voice of the Deity for J. S. Bach, and a medium for virtuoso contemporary compositions. The demonstration will include a cross-section of the many types and sizes of tape recorders, a discussion of their history, repertoire and place in the modern world.

The festival will end on Sunday, June 19 at 7:30 pm with All Mozart at Connecticut College’s Evans Hall with the Symphony No. 40 in G minor, the Requiem Mass in D minor and voices from Connecticut. Choir artists, Concora.

According to festival organizers, artistic director Ian Watson has planned an eclectic concert program.

The Connecticut Early Music Festival is known for performances by world-class musicians playing period instruments that retain the vibrancy and excitement the composers intended.

The Early Music Society of Connecticut, founded in 1982, promotes the knowledge and appreciation of early music and presents concerts, lectures, and festivals featuring medieval, renaissance, baroque, and early classical music performed in a historically appropriate style.

Tickets for the Connecticut Early Music Festival cost $40 each, or $165 for all five shows. Student tickets cost $15 or $60 for five shows. The recording workshop costs $20, free for children under 14. To purchase tickets, visit www.ctearlymusic.org or call 860-333-8504.

— Nancy Burns-Fusaro

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