A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

In Classical Focus, Theodore Bell selects highlights from Jim Eninger’s Clickable Chamber Music Newsletter. Here are his top picks:

Last week I recommended the Southwest Chamber Music concert at the Armory; and true to my expectations, the completely modern concert was fantastic (see my review). But this week, I need some balance to get me back to terra firma, so my focus is on some especially fine early music offerings around town.

Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble

The Jouyssance Early Music Ensemble directed by Nicole Baker is on stage both Saturday and Sunday this weekend in Beverly Hills and Pasadena with a concert titled “A Tongue in Cheeke!” Jouyssance specializes in familiar as well as obscure works from the 14th through 17th centuries. The superb vocalists are often joined by accompanists with period instruments, and the “lighthearted romp through the Renaissance” will feature Janequin’s “Chant des Oiseaux,” excerpts from Banchieri’s madrigal comedy “Il Festino,” and a host of madrigals about beasts, birds, food, drink, love and marriage.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 p.m.
Church of the Good Shepherd, 505 N. Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills

Sunday, Oct. 25, 7:30 p.m.
Church of the Angels, 1100 Avenue 64, Pasadena

Tickets: $20 / $15 students, seniors, and Southern California Early Music Society members. Call (626) 260-8249 or visit http://www.jouyssance.org/concerts.htm.

Con Gioia

Also on Sunday you can hear another fine early music offering from Con Gioia, with Canadian soprano Anne Harley, harpsichordist Preethi De Silva, and cellist Elisabeth Le Guin. Since 1982, Con Gioia has presented some of the finest performers and period instruments.

Harley has garnered national and international acclaim since graduating from the Opera Institute of Boston University. She is a scholar of historical performance and specializes in Russian Baroque music. De Silva, founder and music director of Con Gioia, studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London, the Hochschule für Musik, Berlin, and Yale University, where she earned her doctoral degree. She is Emerita Professor at Scripps College and has won numerous awards and fellowships.

The program titled “Musical Sirens from Russia and Europe” will be an evening of first performances and anniversaries. For the first time in LA, we’ll hear songs by Russian princesses Dashkova and Kurakina and the Countess Golovina, as well as arias from Margravine Wilhelmine von Bayreuth. Rounding out the program are Handel’s “Cantata La Lucrezia,” Purcell’s “Songs Paisiello,” and “Variations on Folies d’Espagne” for harpsichord by C.P.E. Bach.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 4 p.m.
Neighborhood Church of Pasadena, 301 N. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena

Tickets: $25 / $20 Seniors, Friends of Con Gioia, SCEMS, EMA /
$15 students with ID. Call (909) 624-0638 or visit www.congioia.org/concerts.htm.

Red Priest

Red Priest makes Baroque rock.

Red Priest makes Baroque rock.

To get everybody into the Halloween mood, Red Priest, a British acoustic foursome, offers “Nightmare in Venice,” a theatrical presentation of Baroque chamber music on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz. Piers Adams (recorders), Julia Bishop (violin), Angela East (cello) and Howard Beach (harpsichord) will perform Vivaldi’s “Nightmare Concerto,” Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill Sonata,” masque music by Robert Johnson, Gluck’s “Dance of the Blessed Spirits,” Leclair’s “Demon Airs” and Red Priest’s own “Fantasia on Corelli’s ‘La Follia.'” Critics have compared Red Priest to the Rolling Stones and Cirque du Soleil and have described the ensemble as “engaging, vexing and exciting,” “less a Monet than a Jackson Pollock,” and as having “a unique niche in the early music world with its break-all-rules, rock concert-chamber concert approach to early music performance.”

Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m.
Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz
Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles, 10361 W. Pico Blvd., West LA

Tickets: $35 / $20 students. Call (310) 286-0553 or visit www.theatreraymondkabbaz.com.