Submitted by The Newberry Consort
The Newberry Consort, a classical music group that specializes in medieval, renaissance and baroque music, is pleased to welcome Jürgen Krauss, a finalist in The Great British Bake Off in 2021, as a special guest at their fundraising gala reception from 6 to 9 p.m. May 14 at the Woman’s Club of Evanston.
Krauss, who is a historical trombonist as well as a baker, will perform with four of the consort’s trombone players during the event, answer questions about his appearance on The Great British Bake Off, and even make a dessert that will be served to the guests. Plus, Krauss will be baking a cake in advance of the event, which will be auctioned off during the festivities. In addition, the gala will feature hors d’oeuvres and wine. Tickets for the gala are $200.
The gala will be held directly after the Consort’s final concerts of the season, which take place on May 13 in Chicago and May 14 in Evanston. As part of the concert, The Newberry Consort will be teaming up with Bella Voce, another well-known early music ensemble in Chicago, to bring audiences a large-scale production of music by the German Renaissance composer Michael Praetorius, featuring a cast of more than 30 singers and instrumentalists.
The idea for the collaboration between The Newberry Consort and Bella Voce came about in the spring of 2022, when Liza Malamut, who had just been appointed the new artistic director of the Consort, met Andrew Lewis, Bella Voce’s artistic director, at The Newberry Consort’s spring gala fundraiser.
“Praetorius’s music is so wonderfully grand and inspiring, and it seemed like such a natural fit to bring the singers of Bella Voce and the instrumentalists of The Newberry Consort together to perform it,” Malamut says. “Because the music is written for such a large number of musicians, it’s really rare for it to be performed with its full vocal and instrumental forces. I’m incredibly excited for us to bring this music to Chicago, and for audiences to experience the sights and sounds of this event.”
The concerts will feature music from Polyhymnia Caduceatrix et Panegyrica, a collection of works written by Praetorius at the turn of the 17th century. Polyhymnia contains some of the most elaborate vocal and instrumental writing in all of early German music, representing a level of sophistication on par with Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610.
The collection was published in 1619, just one year after the beginning of the Thirty Years’ War. But because the war soon took a deadly toll in Europe, decimating the population and spreading disease and famine in its wake, it was many years before this music could finally be heard in its entirety.
Over four centuries later, The Newberry Consort and Bella Voce will present these spectacular concerts of works from Polyhymnia with 12 voices, five trumpets, four strings, four trombones, three dulcians, two cornetts, timpani, violone, bass violin, and two organs. The music will be juxtaposed with readings of texts by everyday people who lived during and after the Thirty Years’ War, bringing to life Praetorius’s interpretation of Martin Luther’s instruction to “singen und sagen,” or “to sing and to say” – a joyous universal musical sermon during a time of war and strife.
Malamut first performed this music in 2017 in Rochester, NY, and she says when she had the idea to remount the work here in Chicago, she had no idea just how relevant its themes would be today. “There’s a lot going on in the world that’s very frightening right now, but the fact that this music survived such a dark time in history, and remains to be performed today, can remind us that there is still beauty and light in the world that will outlast the darkness, ” she says. “Even now, performing this elaborate and uplifting music during times of fear and uncertainty remains an act of hope and optimism.”
The Singen und Sagen concert performances will be held on May 13 at 8 p.m. at St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church in the Gold Coast, and on May 14 at 4 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston. Pre-concert lectures begin one hour and 15 minutes before the performances. Tickets are $45 for general seating, $65 for preferred seating, and $10 for students with a valid student ID at both concerts.
Singen und Sagen: Music for Hope in a Time of War
Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 8 p.m.
St. Chrysostom’s Episcopal Church, 1424 N. Dearborn, Chicago
Tickets $45 for general seating, $65 for preferred seating, $10 for students with a valid student ID.
Sunday, May 14, 2023 at 4 p.m.
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 939 Hinman Ave., Evanston
Tickets $45 for general seating, $65 for preferred seating, $10 for student with a valid student ID.
Sunday, May 14, 2023 from 6 to 9 p.m.
Woman’s Club of Evanston, 1702 Chicago Ave., Evanston.
Tickets for all events are available at https://www.newberryconsort.org.