Gwendolyn Toth

Gwendolyn Toth is the director of the New York City-based early music ensemble, ARTEK, and a soloist on early keyboards (organ, harpsichord, fortepiano). She is married to harpsichordist Dongsok Shin, and they have three children.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

ARTEK visits Middlebury College

ARTEK performed Monteverdi at the Middlebury College Second Annual Bachfest. Yes, that's right - Monteverdi and Bach.

A bit of a strange pairing, you say? Well, not so strange actually. Both composers really had a way with setting texts.

But logistically a challenge. Dan Swenberg brought two instruments; I brought two harpsichords, my lovely new folding harpsichord and the ever-practical small "Mersenne" harpsichord that I own - so we could have the appropriate temperament for each repertoire. The singers, some of them, brought two voices...Sarah Chalfy, a soprano, stepped in for mezzo-soprano Barbara Hollinshead, who was unable to participate because of a serious family illness. New-to-ARTEK tenor Owen McIntosh brought his ever-so-high Bach tenor (at 440 no less!) and his Monteverdi sometimes-quite-low voice. Peter Becker brought his Bach baritone and his Monteverdi bass voice. So goes it...

The first half of the concert was an ARTEK performance of Monteverdi madrigals; the second half, a collaboration with students and local community members in Bach's Easter Oratorio. I had visited Middlebury earlier in the winter to do some pre-coaching of the students, who were remarkably talented and adept at their instruments.

The best part playing side-by-side with my college organ professor (now retired), Emory Fanning, who played chamber organ with us for the Bach. Still a great player!

The Bach Festival in Mead Chapel at Middlebury College.

Emory Fanning, organist par excellence!

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