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Parthenia—Grace and Energy

One of the fine ensembles making their debut at the 2016 Berkeley Festival will be Parthenia, a consort of viols. They will be doing two different concert programs, one by the quartet that explores the gamba repertory from the time of Shakespeare, the other a greatest hits program with guests Robert Mealy and Shira Kammen, violins and vielles, both string players of exceptional verve. This second show, which they call Musical Games, promises a romp through 500 years of the BEST music for string ensemble—extending from 14th c. estampies and laments, to Franco-Flemish gems by Isaac, Brumel and Moulu, Elizabethan masterpieces by Byrd, Taverner and Parsons, to the 6-part works of early baroque composers, such as Brade, Scheidt and Lawes. Here’s a foretaste of that show, showing just how much energetic fun it has.

The English sure loved those crunchy cross-relations! Worried about falling asleep at a viol concert? Probably not this one.

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