Critic’s Choice

Tue Feb 24, 2015 at 11:11 am
Gregory Spears

Gregory Spears

Why should early music have all the fun? The timbres and tunings of instruments like the fortepiano, viola da gamba and harpsichord are like dining on venison after a diet of cheeseburgers. But modern and contemporary music written for this instruments, and meant to do something other than imitate medieval and baroque music, is so rare as to seem nonexistent.

One place to look is a new release of Vittorio Rieti’s Neoclassical compositions for harpsichord and instruments on the New World Records label. Another is in a series of upcoming concerts by New Vintage Baroque, a group formed by young musicians who have come out of Juilliard’s relatively new Historical Performance program.

From Thursday through Saturday, they will be playing a program they call “Fated Lovers,” centered around the local premiere of Virginiana, a new piece by composer Gregory Spears, who is adept at updating ancient ideas for contemporary sensibilities. The excitement of the new will be enhanced by the pleasures of the old, including music by Purcell and Handel.

“Fated Lovers” will take place at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts 6 p.m. Thursday, the Stage at the Times Center 7:30 p.m. Friday, and the Church of St. Luke-in-the-Field 7:30 p.m., Saturday.

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