Weekend MusicWatch: Baroque Brilliance

Baroque concerts bracket a weekend (and more) of Oregon music

So much worthy music is on stage in Oregon that they couldn’t fit it all into the weekend, so we’re stretching these previews to encompass attractive concerts on Tuesday and Wednesday, too!

Portland Baroque Orchestra, Friday-Saturday, First Baptist Church, Sunday, Kaul Auditorium, Portland.

German keyboard player Alexander Weimann leads PBO in a vocal-oriented concert featuring superb guest soprano Amanda Forsythe and former Portland Opera mezzo soprano Hannah Penn. Backed by the Northwest’s finest historically informed Baroque performers on period instruments, they’ll sing gorgeous arias and duets the greatest hits from George Frideric Handel’s grand oratorios and operas such as Rinaldo, Rodelinda, Theodora, Alcina and more, and the band will play music from his great Opus 6 concertos, second only to Bach’s Brandenburg’s in Baroque bravura.

Greg Ewer and Adam LaMotte play Leclair at 45th Parallel's concert Wednesday.

Greg Ewer and Adam LaMotte play Leclair at 45th Parallel’s concert Wednesday.


Zoe Keating, Friday, Aladdin Theater, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of the California-based indie solo cellist/composer’s latest visit to one of her favorite towns.

Oregon Mozart Players, Saturday, Beall Hall, Eugene.

Renowned violinist Cho-Liang Lin joins the chamber orchestra in its namesake’s Violin Concerto #2, and the band plays a Mozart opera overture and Respighi’s tone poem, The Birds.

Wildwood Consort, Saturday, House Concert, Portland.

The veteran historically informed chamber ensemble sings and plays more Handel, more Leclair, and more Baroque (Vivaldi, Mondonville) in a more intimate setting, including works for voice, violin, and more.

Cascadia Composers, Sunday, First Presbyterian Church, Portland.

A variety of Portland chamber musicians play music by a baker’s dozen of Northwest composers, including Jack Gabel, Greg Steinke,Art Resnick, Jan Mittelstaedt, Gary Noland, Brandon Stewart, Jay Derderian and more.

Cappella Romana, Saturday, Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Portland.

Fresh from its triumphant performance at the Utrecht Early Music Festival, the choir gives a free performance at Portland’s Greek Festival.

Nanjing University Traditional Instruments Orchestra, Friday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University and Saturday, Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland.
Students perform traditional Chinese music on authentic instruments.

MJNew Quartet, Friday, Wilf’s Restaurant, Portland.

Portland pianist Darrell Grant joins a trio of other fine players to celebrate the magnificent ensemble that probably most persuasively incorporated classical influences into jazz, the Modern Jazz Quartet.

Will Holder and Alex Waterman, Friday, Mother Foucault’s Bookstore, Portland.

The cellist and writer/spoken word artist have been realizing the layered and interwoven vocal constructions the American composer Robert Ashley, who died this year, called his “operas.” This performance/reading includes excerpts from two of his late operas, Dust and Celestial Excursionswhich explore the world of old people (based on conversations with Americans in assisted living center in Arizona) and homeless people. Ashley’s strangely compelling world is unlike anything else; best to sample one of the videos linked above to get an idea.

Labonee Mohanta & Sonali Toppur, Saturday, Performing Arts Center, PCC Sylvania, Portland.

In this Kalakendra concert, the two members of California’s acclaimed Pandit Chitresh Das Dance Company perform the ancient, yoga-influenced Hindustani Kathak classical dance style, accompanied by a live ensemble featuring sitar, tabla, harmonium and voice.

Vancouver Symphony, Saturday and Sunday, Skyview Concert Hall, Vancouver, WA.

The orchestra plays watery music by Debussy, Grofe, Smetana, and more, accompanied by projected images of nature scenes.

Christopher Schindler, Sunday, Michelle’s Piano Company, Portland.

The pianist plays classics by Bach, Beethoven and Chopin.

Anton Nel, Tuesday, Beall Concert Hall, Eugene.

The acclaimed South African pianist plays music by Mozart, Enrique Granados, and some of Debussy’s sublime Preludes, the pinnacle of impressionist pianistic beauty.

45th Parallel, Wednesday, The Old Church, Portland.

Two of the state’s top violinists, Greg Ewer and Adam LaMotte, play music from their splendid new CD of duo sonatas by the underrated French Baroque composer Jean-Marie Leclair, plus (with help from cellist Nathan Whittaker and harpsichordist Susan Jensen) more Baroque classics by the great composers Arcangelo Corelli and Jean-Baptiste Lully.

Grazyna Auguścik & Andrzej Jagodziński Trio, Wednesday, Polish Hall, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of these Polish jazzers.

FearNoMusic, Wednesday, The Secret Society, Portland.

In this concert that benefits Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare programs (including a nascent music therapy program), a quartet from the Portland new music ensemble plays music by composers who suffered from mental illness, including Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Schumann, Wolf and Donizetti.

Brandon Seabrook, Tuesday, The Know, Portland.

Read my Willamette Week preview of the gloriously noisy New York banjoist and guitarist.

Kunitoshi Kineya, Wednesday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University.

The Japanese shamisen (lute) master plays music from kabuki theater and more.

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