Brooke Evers Moore draws packed-out audience for Salon Series
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Frank Center W.H. Shipley Recital Hall was filled to capacity on Jan. 30, as community members gathered together to hear the first Salon Series of 2020, “Early Music Masterpieces.”
Audience members faced with the standing-room-only situation were quickly transported through the music, featuring an ensemble led by Shepherd University voice professor Brooke Evers Moore. The Salon Series is sponsored by Jefferson Security Bank.
“You’re in for a real treat with this music,” said Shepherd University School of Music director Kurtis Adams, as he welcomed the audience. “The Salon Series is one of my favorite things we do here, because it has such an intimate audience.”
According to Adams, the series doubly benefits the university, as along with the concert, workshops are also held by the professional musicians. On Jan. 29, two of the six hired ensemble musicians, soprano Lisa Dodson and cellist Stephanie Vial, gave a workshop the day before to School of Music students. The four other members of the ensemble were violinist Elizabeth Field, violinist Annie Loud, organist Patrick Miller and John Armato, who alternated between playing the lute and theorba throughout the concert.
For Evers Moore, the concert was an opportunity to share some lesser-known baroque and pre-baroque pieces she has found over the years. She began the performance by singing Dieterich Buxtehude’s “Schaffe in mir Gott sin rein Herz.”
“Buxtehude was one of Bach’s greatest inspirations,” Evers Moore said, mentioning Bach once hiked over 250 miles to visit and study with Buxtehude. “He came back, ready to display the marvelous things heh ad learned from Buxtehude.”
The next set of pieces by Claudio Monteverdi, “O come sei gentile,” “Venite, venite” and “Zefiro torna,” featured duets sung by Dodson and Evers Moore.
“This next section, we’ll be stepping back in time a little bit, to the pre-baroque period,” Evers Moore said. “If you’re familiar with the Italian madrigal, it’s very typical of that. There is some very dramatic text painting, so it’s a lot of fun.”
The third section of the concert highlighted the talents of the instrumentalists–in particular, of Field, who is the concertmaster of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem and the founder and director of The Vivaldi Project. Field performed Giuseppe Tartini’s “Sonata Op. 4, no. 3,” with the accompaniment of Armato, Vial and Miller.
“[Tartini] has one piece that has been played over-and-over in the 20th century, but he wrote many other amazing sonatas. This is one of them,” Field said, mentioning she and the other stringed instrumentalists were all playing on strings that would have been used during the baroque period, which were made from cat gut.
Following Field’s performance, Evers Moore re-joined the instrumentalists on stage for the final section of the concert, singing a recently-discovered work by George Frideric Handel, “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”
“This piece was lost for many years,” Evers Moore said. “It was found in the Royal Academy of Music in 2001. I’ve been wanting to sing it for a long time with instruments.”