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Conversations: Love and Loss


Twelfth Night full profile / voice, 2 violins, cello, harpsichord / 5 musicians

Other players: Rachell Ellen Wong, David Belkovski, Carmen Johnson-Pájaro, Nathan Whittaker, Nicoletta Berry

Full program notes

In the grassy gardens of princely Italian villas, a boisterous George Friderich Handel found himself surrounded by the greatest thinkers and artists of his day. During these weekend meetings, suggestively called Conversations, ideas would be passed around and relentlessly dissected. Love, death, loss, goodness — no concept was found to be off-limits, and the loftier idea, the better. In this makeshift Eden, a young Handel experimented and pushed his art to the farthest reaches, where he seemed to string together the pearls with striking rapidity. These pearls were, in the spirit of the Baroque, audacious, misshapen, and vivid, but never without Handel’s signature attention to beauty. To usher forth the summer season, Twelfth Night presents a typically spectacular set of music heard in these gardens — vocal and instrumental music of Handel is joined by Porpora, Corelli, Merula, and Mazzochi.

Historical context

Gatherings of artists and thinkers span across all times and cultures. Twelfth Night invokes the tradition of Italian "Conversations," meetings which saw the likes of Handel and Corelli discussing human nature alongside the greatest philosophers and poets of the day. Each meeting featured music written especially for the event, some of which will be heard on Twelfth Night's program, "Conversation: Love and Loss."

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