by Mike Telin
Over the past eight years, Les Délices has presented well-researched, thought-provoking, and highly entertaining concerts that explore music and topics of the French Baroque.
During recent seasons the ensemble’s founder and artistic director, Debra Nagy, has created imaginative programs such as A Woman Scorned, which explored universal themes of desire, jealousy, shame, and revenge by giving voice to the spurned lovers of antiquity.
She introduced audiences to the famous pair of viola da gamba players of the 18th century, Marin Marais and Antoine Forqueray, during The Angel and the Devil. Nagy’s programs have often highlighted social issues of the time that remain relevant today. We’ve learned that finding ways to circumvent rules has always been a popular pastime. And the ensemble also presented the only area concert in living memory that featured the hurdy-gurdy.
When Les Délices (LD) begin their ninth season this week, the ensemble will have plenty to celebrate. Their latest recording, Age of Indulgence, was released this summer to excellent reviews, they have four national tours on the books, and an ambitious subscription season ahead. “It’s going to be a busy few days for us,” Debra Nagy said during a telephone conversation.
On September 21, the public is invited to drop in and hear the musicians tweak the revised edition of their Baroque-jazz crossover program “Songs Without Words” during LD@work, an open rehearsal from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm at St. John’s, Ohio City. Introduced last season, the program expands listeners’ ideas about what Baroque instruments are capable of by juxtaposing love songs by Jean-Baptiste Lully and Michel Lambert with works by John Lennon, Stephen Sondheim, and Nina Simone. “This year’s program is an enriched and expanded version of the one we did last year,” Nagy said. “It’s evolved, and has some new sets and pieces.” Performers include Debra Nagy (oboe), Eric Milnes (harpsichord), and Mélisande Corriveau (viola da gamba).
LD will take the program to Painesville on the 22nd for a performance at Lake Erie College. The following day the ensemble will present the program at a concert for the Renaissance and Baroque Society of Pittsburgh. On Sunday the 24th, audiences can enjoy the program and toast the release of their latest CD during their first-ever benefit — a brunch at Nighttown beginning at 12:30 pm. Click here for ticket information. The following day, the musicians will take the program into the recording studio to lay down tracks for what will become their fourth CD.
In addition to the new season concerts, Les Délices has also rebranded their outreach activities. “We’re concentrating our efforts in three ways,” Nagy said. “First is LD@work, which are the working rehearsals that are open to the public. We’ll chat with those who are there during the breaks. It’s an opportunity to connect with people who range from the curious to those who already know us and who want to observe the process.”
LD@work activities will be held at St. John’s, Ohio City on September 21 (Songs Without Words) and October 19 (Virtuoso Music for Baroque violin), and at Plymouth Church on April 25, 2018 (Les Délices & Quire Cleveland). All rehearsals run from 6:30 pm until 9:30 pm.
LD@play, the ensemble’s popular family concerts, will continue at the Bop Stop on January 13, 2018 (Medieval Dance Party) and on March 10, 2018 (Harp — Instrument of the Angel), at 3:00 pm.
“LD@steps out are our free community performances, and we’re partnering with a variety of community organizations this year,” Nagy said. “In our meetings with Cleveland Public Library, they felt it would be wonderful to place us in branches where we could have the most impact. One of the concerts will be at a remote branch in a retirement facility in Kamm’s Corners. We’ll also be at the Sterling branch in Midtown and at A Place For Us, an LGBT retirement facility.” Click here for further information.
Les Délices’s subscription series will begin with a program titled “Inspired by Italy” on October 21 at 8:00 pm at Pilgrim Church, and October 22 at 4:00 pm in the Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church.
Published on ClevelandClassical.com September 19, 2017.
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