Judson Griffin, baroque violin
Małgorzata Ziemnicka, baroque violin
Lawrence Lipnik, viola da gamba
Carlene Stober, viola da gamba
Patricia Ann Neely, viola da gamba, violone
Abendmusik, a 17th century string ensemble, showcases the rarely-performed repertoire composed during and after one of the most devastating periods in the region’s history, the 30 Years War (1618 – 1648). The term “Abendmusik” refers to the free concert series established by the organist Franz Tunder in Lübeck churches in the 17th century and further cultivated by North German composer Dieterich Buxtehude in the early 18th century. Abendmusik programs featured sacred and secular vocal and instrumental solo and chamber works, as well as solo organ. The series became so popular, as a result of the free admission and the featured compositions, that it grew into a respectable cultural institution.
The Abendmusik ensemble explores the repertoire of countries that influenced German composers (Italy, the Hapsburg Empire of Austria and Spain, Poland, Holland, England, Denmark and France) as well as the regional styles of German composers associated with specific principalities through the period after the war. The end result is a fusion of styles and the ultimate establishment of a German national style we associate with J. S. Bach, Georg Philipp Telemann, George Friderich Handel and others.
The ensemble has the opportunity to program the entire spectrum of repertoire on the European continent as it relates to the cultivation of 17th-century German style, creating a variety of programming options while remaining true to the mission.
A few of the composers featured include Heinrich Schütz, Johann Hermann Schein, Michael Praetorius, Johann Rosenmüller, Samuel Scheidt, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Johann Schop, and even Kaiser Leopold I (the Hapsburg Empire). They established themselves as forward-looking Germanic composers by absorbing the musical traditions and styles of the Italians and transforming these styles into their own. Italian composers such as Gabrieli and Monteverdi, Antonio Cesti, Antonio Bertali, Giovanni Legrenzi and Salamone Rossi, to name a few, played an important role in this transformation and education of their German guests. The German composers became prolific, innovative, and greatly admired. Among the European countries surrounding Germany we also look at composers from England who graced the north German lands, such as John Dowland, William Brade and Thomas Simpson, and the Netherlands, Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck, Jakob van Eyck, and Johannes Schenk, among others.