by Louisa Shepherd
If it ain’t Baroque, you’ll wish it was….
concert:nova and the award winning early music ensemble, The Catacoustic Consort, will be presenting their highly anticipated concert A Common Thread in less than two weeks! You may be asking yourself, “Early music? How can early music be innovative, fun, and entertaining?” And if you’re asking yourself these questions, you will no doubt find your answer when you come to see A Common Thread.
I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of chatting with Annalisa Pappano, Founder and Artistic Director of Catacoustic Consort, over coffee and found the very answer to these questions. What makes early music fun and interesting to today’s concert goers? How can music written such a long time ago still be engaging?
“You have to do something to make the music relevant” says Pappano who fell in love with the viola de gamba as a youngster at Interlochen Fine Arts Camp. “Older music can be appreciated on so many different levels…for its initial beauty, for its artistic technique, its historical and political background, its symbolism…each layer you learn about brings another level of beauty.”
The musicians of Catacoustic make it a point to engage their audiences by teaching listeners about the music they will hear. I think this concert will be particularly accessible to concert-goers for that very reason. concert:nova and Catacoustic play very different genres of music, as you may well know. concert:nova is comprised of instruments that have a very full sound and were meant to fill concert halls, while Catacoustic’s instruments are much softer and were traditionally played in smaller, more intimate settings. “A Common Thread is all about juxtaposing contemporary and early music instruments,” says Pappano. “Learning how to juxtapose these two different sound worlds will be a fun and interesting experience…and our audiences are always looking for new, different experiences.”
This unconventional collaboration between new and old came about very naturally. “I’m good friends with Ixi Chen, founder and Artistic Director of concert:nova.” Annalisa says. “Our ensembles share many of the same audience members and supporters. Ixi and I even have babies who are the same age. We share a deep friendship and were actually sitting right here at Coffee Emporium when the idea for A Common Thread came to life. The whole thing just made sense.”
The “common thread” tying the two sound worlds together is provided by none other than William Shakespeare. “Shakespearean plays contain themes that are universal,” says Pappano. “They’re very easy to relate to.” In addition to works composed by Shakespeare’s contemporaries, A Common Thread will feature a dramatic one-woman interpretation of The Tempest performed by Jennifer Joplin of the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
So why is Annalisa exited about A Common Thread? “I get to play the treble viol! I learned that instrument while studying at Interlochen and that experience made me fall in love with music. I felt as though I’d finally found my voice when learning to play these instruments and I’m excited to give that opportunity to the audience.”
A Common Thread will be presented in downtown Cincinnati’s Mercantile Library on March 17 and 18. To learn more about the show and for ticketing information visit cncatacoustic.eventbrite.com. As our good friend Shakespeare says “better three hours too soon than a minute too late.” Grab your ticket today!
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