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Program note:
In mid-18th-century Berlin, the court musicians as well as visiting artists were famous virtuosi performing music full of expressivity and fantasy. In Berlin Sonatas, the sonatas of J.C.F. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, C.F. Abel, and C.H. Graun each demonstrate the language of Sensibility (Empfindsamkeit): an expression of sadness, anger, wrath, joy, love, and praise. In their music, emotions are fleeting and instantaneous and, above all, the beauty of melody is emphasized. In Berlin in particular (where several court musicians were students of J.S. Bach), sonatas for cello seem liberated, natural, and comprehensible when played on an instrument fitted with a fifth string. The five-string cello also allows for the performance of violin caprices by Franz Benda. The music on today’s concert achieves a great quality of expression of the kind that helped make Berlin composers famous, especially for their rapturous Adagios and tuneful Allegros, each leaving ample space for the performer’s creativity.

Lorenzo Ghielmi 
Lorenzo Ghielmi has devoted many years to the study and interpretation of music from the Renaissance and the Baroque as organist, harpsichordist and conductor. He gives concerts throughout Europe, in Japan and in America, and he has made many recordings for radio (BBC, WDR, MDR, Radio France, NHK) and for an extensive discography. His recordings of Bruhns, Bach, Handel concertos and the concertos by Haydn for organ and orchestra have been awarded the "Diapason d’or". Ghielmi Lorenzo is the author of a book on Nicolaus Bruhns, and several studies on the art of the organ in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as well as on the performance of the works of Bach.

He teaches organ, harpsichord and ensemble music at the Civica Scuola di Musica di Milano, in the Istituto Musica Antica. Since 2006 he has been Professor of Organ at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel. He is organist of the Ahrend organ in the Basilica San Simpliciano, Milan, where he has performed the complete organ works of JS Bach. He has served on many juries of international organ competitions and has supervised the construction of several modern organs, including the monumental instrument in Tokyo Cathedral. Lorenzo Ghielmi is the director of the ensemble "La Divina Armonia”.

Elinor Frey
Fascinated by the cello’s origins and the creative process of new music, Elinor Frey plays both period and modern instruments. Her debut album, Dialoghi, is titled for the solo piece written for her by Steven Stucky. Her recent release on the Belgian label Passacaille, Berlin Sonatas with Lorenzo Ghielmi on fortepiano, was nominated for a Juno award for Best Classical CD, Solo & Chamber Music and won the 2015 Québec Opus Prize for Early Music CD of the year. Her first Baroque CD, La voce del violoncello, was praised for its “careful scholarship and brilliant layering of moods and tempos” (Toronto Star) and for the “honest, reflective beauty of her music making” (Strings). Her performance of this program was the winner of the public prize at the 2013 Utrecht Early Music Festival Fringe.

Elinor Frey’s honours include a US-Italy Fulbright Fellowship where she studied baroque cello with Paolo Beschi, the SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship, American Musicological Society, and Canada Council for the Arts grants facilitating her work on Italian cello music. In recent seasons she has performed with Les Idées heureuses, Il Gardellino, Ensemble Caprice, Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, Arion, and Theatre of Early Music, as well as with her quartet, Pallade Musica. Ms. Frey holds degrees from McGill, Mannes, and Juilliard.

Ghielmi-Frey Duo: Berlin Sonatas

July 23, 2017


The royal courts of mid-eighteenth century Berlin attracted some of the greatest musicians of the time. The award-winning duo of Elinor Frey (playing a five-string baroque cello) and Italian harpsichordist Lorenzo Ghielmi display the expressivity and fantasy of this repertoire in works by CPE Bach, JCF Bach, Abel and Benda.

Full program:
JCF BACH: Sonata for violoncello and basso continuo in A major (1770)
CPE BACH: Claviersonata in G Major [Wq 62/19]
ABEL: Sonata for violoncello and basso continuo in G major [WKO 147] (1782) 
BENDA: Progressive etude No. 25: Allegro moderato & Caprice No. 16Moderato 
CH GRAUN: Sonata for Violoncello Solo in C major [GraunWV B:XVII:53]

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Sun, July 23
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