October 16, 2011

Let there be lute

Fans of early music, in the midst of a global renaissance, can party like it's 1600 this month when the harpsichords, recorders and, yes, lutes hit town for the Portland Early Music Festival and a visit by the Handel and Haydn Society.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

“A Party” (1629) by the Dutch painter Isaac Elias, places a lute player at the center of attention.

Courtesy image

click image to enlarge

Portland-based lutenist Timothy Burris, who will be taking part in the upcoming Portland Early Music Festival.

Courtesy of Timothy Burris

Additional Photos Below


WHEN: Friday through Oct. 23

WHERE: Portland Conservatory of Music, Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford St.

ADMISSION: Free; donations accepted

INFORMATION: 775-3356 or portlandconservatory.net



WHEN: 3 p.m. Oct. 29

WHERE: Hannaford Hall, Abromson Center, University of Southern Maine, Bedford Street, Portland

TICKETS: $38, with limited $10 student tickets; 842-0800 or porrtix.com

INFORMATION: portlandovations.org

At the same time, USM voice professor Bruce Fithian has molded the Saint Mary Schola, based at the Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin in Falmouth, into a fully functioning performing arts group that presents three concerts annually. The Schola is now in its fourth year.

"Portland has grown up," said Fithian, who sings internationally and is closely associated with the early music scene in Boston.

Fithian's attraction to the music stems from its "incredible richness. There are not big, loud sounds in early music. I think it tends to draw you into a more spiritual mood. In our day and age, we are overwhelmed with technology and information. Sometimes to come to a quiet, intimate setting is a nice change of pace."

Marie-Helene Bernard, executive director of the Handel and Haydn Society, said early music appeals to listeners who favor the intimacy of a small ensemble over a large orchestra.

"Early music makes you hear and listen to things that you could never hear with a major orchestra," she said. "It's hard to define early music, because there is such variety in the writing, in the music and in the sound. It's a matter of texture, the sounds and details and subtleties that you hear in music. And of course, the sheer beauty of the repertoire."

Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:


Twitter: pphbkeyes


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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

The Handel and Haydn Society performs on Oct. 29 at Hannaford Hall on the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland.

Courtesy of Portland Ovations


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