Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Collegium Vocale Performs Baroque Treasures Rescued from Obscurity

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Collegium Vocale Performs Baroque Treasures Rescued from Obscurity

Article excerpt

Sometimes, in order to hear music that's really new to audiences, you have to seek out music that's really old.

Collegium Vocale of St. Louis, now in its 20th year, is a group of six singers specializing in vocal chamber music of the 17th and 18th centuries. Each musician is both a trained soloist and an experienced ensemble performer. Several also play instruments; other instrumentalists are hired as needed, including harpsichordist Charles Metz.

The odds of your having heard anything on the program are vanishingly small.

"We try to discover new things," says artistic director and tenor Bruce Carvell, "and that's something which this concert particularly focuses on. It's all music that I've edited newly from original sources, available online. As far as we know, most of the music on this concert has not been heard since it was composed."

Collegium Vocale was founded in late 1996 by Darrell Berg; her husband, the late St. Louis Symphony Orchestra principal flute Jacob Berg; and the late keyboard virtuoso Mary Mottl. Darrell Berg, a retired professor of musicology at Washington University, played Baroque violin and did the group's programming, while Jacob Berg played Baroque flute. After Darrell Berg stepped down, Carvell stepped up.

Two other original members of the ensemble, bass-baritone David Berger and tenor Willard Cobb, have continued singing for two decades. The roster also includes sopranos Arianna Aerie and Nancy Luetzow, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Ruggles.

The repertoire includes everything from English madrigals to Bach cantatas. Every other year, they perform a cantata by the prolific (with more than 2,000 surviving works) German composer Christoph Graupner (1683-1760), "music not heard since the early 1700s." Graupner is best known today for his inadvertent role in the career of Johann Sebastian Bach: When the Thomaskirche in Leipzig was looking for a new cantor, the job was turned down first by Georg Phillipp Telemann and then by Graupner. …

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