Chamber Music from some of the East Coast’s most acclaimed performers on both modern and period instruments
ArcoVoce, whose name translates loosely from the Italian for strings and voice, may be unique in specializing in performances on both sets of instruments, as well as in including vocal chamber music as an integral part of its performances. ArcoVoce has performed in prestigious venues including Washington D.C.’s Phillips Collection and Corcoran Galleries, the German and Dutch Embassies, the Boston Early Music Festival, and Alexandria Virginia’s Lyceum.
ArcoVoce’s repeated performances at the Phillips Collection have earned it status as a resident chamber ensemble of the gallery. Among the notable guest artists who have appeared with ArcoVoce are the celebrated baroque violinist Elisabeth Wallfisch, principal cellist of Musica Antique Koln Phoebe Carrai, and longtime principal clarinettist of the Cleveland Orchestra Franklin Cohen.
ArcoVoce’s performances have been hailed for both their outstanding quality and their remarkable innovation. Examples of ArcoVoce’s innovative programming include pairing music of Hildegard von Bingen and Olivier Messian, music stemming from the same Catholic mystic tradition notwithstanding the eight plus centuries between composers. The ensemble’s CD “The ArcoVoce Chamber Ensemble” links the moody, dark Bach e minor sonata for violin and continuo with the dark, moody instrumental song cycle of Shostakovich “Seven Romances to Poems of Alexander Blok.”
ArcoVoce often presents highly meritorious but less familiar pieces from the panoply of western music, including east coast premieres of music of the Dutch baroque composer Cornelius Padbrue, C. P. E. Bach’s contemporary J.C. Graun, and contemporary composer Lori Leitman. ArcoVoce has also made the first recording of trio sonatas of the 17th century Italian baroque master Isabella Leonarda. The Washington Post said of ArcoVoce: “The performances were skilled and dedicated, wonderfully expressive... It is very rare to hear a single ensemble performing so well in such different kinds of music.”
Repertoire & Choice of Instruments
ArcoVoce juxtaposes music from different eras because we believe that while the artistic language chosen by composers may differ, the underlying human truths expressed remain constant and discernible.
Linking seemingly disparate music reveals unexpected congruities and synergies. Our CD, for example, pairs a Hildegard von Bingen chant with the exquisite slow movement of the Brahms c minor piano quartet, both aural manifestations of the eternal feminine. It follows that our interest in this variety of repertoire is reflected in a commitment to historically informed performance practice: performing music on the instruments for which it was composed. But ArcoVoce goes further and maintains that there need not be a chasm between early and modern instruments – or early and modern instrument performers!
From our perspective, at the dawn of the 21st century, our sweeping awareness of all that has come before invites this panoramic exploration, encouraging a feeling of discovery, appreciation and recognition in both performers and audiences.