One of the compliments I prize most highly after a concert is that someone liked the programming, or that I have a knack for programming interesting concerts — that there was some reason to group the particular pieces I chose, and that that reason was (or those reasons were) appreciated by the listener.

“Mozart & Scarlatti: Fathers & Sons” is in many ways my favorite kind of St. Martin’s program — four beautiful and interesting works that have a distinct reason to be grouped together. In this case it’s a family affair. Two father/son combinations from the 17th/18th centuries.

And what makes this concert even more exciting is that we are joined by four members of the fantastic Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado — Frank Nowell on chamber organ, Sandy Miller on cello, David Crowe on string bass, and Peter Schmipf on theorbo (bass lute).

The concert will begin with an a cappella piece — an exquisitely beautiful setting of the Salve Regina by Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725). The instruments will join on the rest of the program, starting with the Stabat Mater of Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757). Some of you will be familiar with Pergolesi’s haunting setting of the Stabat Mater for two sopranos and continuo. This is a work that is almost exactly contemporary to that, likewise extremely emotional (as the text depicts the feelings of the virgin Mary as she observes her son hanging on the cross), and is for 4 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors and 2 basses. In this concert there will be two singers on each part (hence, 20 singers). It is rarely performed, I believe, not because it is in any way inferior to the Pergolesi, but because it calls for so many singers, specifically sopranos. I am blessed with the number of very fine sopranos that I have to choose from in St. Martin’s, and that we are thus able to present rare and especially haunting works such as this.

The second half will begin with the Missa Brevis in C by Leopold Mozart (1719-1787), a work at first mistakenly attributed to his son Wolfgang (K. 115), but which has recently been conclusively proven to be by the father. It is a work of unusual inventiveness, melodically, and I have grown quite fond of it. The concert will then conclude with a rollicking and joyous anthem, Venite Populi by Wolfgang Mozart. The audience will thus be taken on a tour of late-17th and early 18th century style as exhibited by these four related composers, spanning the Baroque and Classical eras.

I have recorded the usual promo video for this concert, and it contains some good stuff, so have a look (it’s only four minutes) by clicking here.

Here’s a list of the dates and venues:
Friday, April 13, 7:30pm, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Wheat Ridge
Saturday, April 14, 7:30pm, St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Denver
Sunday, April 15, 3:00pm, St. Paul Lutheran and Catholic Community of Faith, Capitol Hill
Tickets available at our website (click here — scroll to the concert you wish to attend and click on it); or by calling our office at (303) 298-1970. Hope to see many of you there — a concert not to be missed!!
On Saturday evening, April 21, 6:30-9:30pm, an event in aid of St. Martin’s Chamber Choir will be held at the stunning City Park home (one might even say “mansion,” but that might seem boastful) of Brian Wagner and Allison Westfahl Wagner. The feature of the evening, aside from the location, is the entertainment: The Stu MacAskie Duo (heard frequently at the Crimson Room, Nocturne, Dazzle, and other jazz haunts in town). Rumor also has it that St. Martin’s singers Donna Wickham (vocal jazz faculty at DU) and Kathryn Radakovich (vocal faculty at MSUD) — and possibly even MB Krueger (if her arm can be twisted in just the right way…) — will be joining the duo for a couple tunes each.

“Jazz and Joie de Vivre” will be a festive evening of fine food and drink, accompanied by one of Denver’s best jazz duos, pianist Stu MacAskie and bass player Ron Bland; and in support of a worthy cause, your favorite chamber choir! Tickets are $30, or $50 per couple, and can be reserved/obtained by contacting the St. Martin’s office at (303) 298-1970.

Toast the coming of Spring to the strains of jazz standards in beautiful surroundings, and support the arts — what could be better?