The Baroque Room
Lunchtime Concert Series
Admission is FREE
The German-Italian Connection
Charles Asch, baroque cello
Asako Hirabayashi, harpsichord
Bel Canto Italian arias and cello sonatas, from both Italy and German converse in this program exploring the connection of the vocal and instrumental Baroque traditions. Italian cellists of the 18th century tended to compose and perform both as cellists and vocalists. The operatic Sonata for in F for Cello by Nicola Porpora comes from the same Neapolitan tradition as the famous "Caro Mio Ben" aria by Giordiani. The virtuoso "Franciscello", described as "an angel of the cello", is known to have performed spectacular cello obbligato with tenor alongside Domenico Scarlatti at the harpsichord. "Bist du Bei Mir" by J. S. Bach echoes the sincere and more introverted German tradition embraced by Telemann in his sole Sonata for Cello in D major. This "voice and violoncello" tradition is revived in this program combining the talents of Charles Asch, cellist and tenor, and Asako Hirabayashi, harpsichordist.
PROGRAM (selected from)
Nicola Porpora - Sonata in Fa Maggiore per violoncello e basso continuo
Tommaso Giordiani - "Caro Mio Ben"
Francesco "Franciscello" Alborea - Sonata in Re Maggior per violoncello e basso continuo
Domenico Scarlatti - Sonata and ”Già il sole dal Gange"
Andrea Falconieri - "O Bellissimi Capelli"
J. S. Bach - Sarabande and Minuets from Suite for Solo Cello No. 2 in D Minor
J. S. Bach - "Bist du Bei Mir"
George Telemann - Sonata in D Major
Charles Asch trained from an early age as both a cellist and vocalist, performing as boy soprano soloist with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and Bel Canto Chorus. He has held the lead roles of "Amahl and the Night Visitors" by Menotti and as Marius in Les Miserables. His primary musical focus is a cellist, with a Master of Music degree from Juilliard and DMA from University of Minnesota in cello performance. He performs with Lyra Baroque Orchestra, Minnesota Bach Society, and Minnesota Opera orchestra. Charles maintains an active chamber music and recital career in the Twin Cities area. Recently he performed the 1st and 3rd Suites for Solo Cello by Bach at the UW-River Falls and The Baroque Room, as well as a selection of Italian cello sonatas by Geminiani and Vivaldi for the Twin Cities Early Music Festival in August, 2017. Engagements in February, 2018 include Op. 41 "Silhuotten" by Karl Davydov (Schubert Club Courtroom Series, Thursday, February 15th at 12:00 P.M.) and the Quartet for the End of the Time by Messiaen (MacPhail Spotlight Series, Thursday, February 22nd at 2:00 P.M. in St. Mary's Basilica, Minneapolis).
A harpsichordist and composer, Asako Hirabayashi's first recording on Albany Label, whose program is entirely composed and played by herself, was selected as one of the 5 best classical CDs of the year 2010 by Minneapolis Star Tribune and received 7 favorable reviews internationally. She has won numerous grants and awards including the 2009-10 McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians and two Minnesota State Arts Board’s Artist Initiative grants as a soloist. As a composer, she has won the 2016 McKnight Fellowship for Composers, several first prizes in competitions such as Alienor International Harpsichord Composition Competition (won the 6th, 7th and 8th consecutively) and NHK International Song Writing Competition in Japan, and was awarded the 2012 Jerome Fund for New Music by American Composers Forum to write an opera. She has appeared as a featured guest soloist in international festivals and concert series worldwide since her New York debut recital at Carnegie Hall. She holds a Doctoral degree from the Juilliard School.