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Don Quixote, new translation by Edith Grossman (2003)
The instrumental ensemble consisted of a well-balanced string quintet, with most of the emphasis on the demanding first violin parts, played with dexterity if not universally clear and beautiful tone by Risa Browder. Pleasing accents were added by the continuo group of Webb Wiggins on harpsichord, William Simms on theorbo and Baroque guitar, and Christopher Kendall on lute and therbo, as well as some occasional solos by Robert Eisenstein on recorder, contributing some much needed variety in the treble range. Particularly worthy were Telemann's music for Quixote's attack on the windmills, the book's most famous passage, a very fast, agitated performance of music focused especially on a rapid-fire repeated-note motif, and for the sighs of love for Princess Aline, with a chromatic sighing motif for the first violin. A country dance medley was added to the conclusion of the program, to give a sampling of Thomas D'Urfey's poaching of pre-existing dance tunes. This had little to do with the program, coming after the death of Quixote, but the different colors applied -- lute and guitar with only double bass on one, recorder featured on another -- relieved the uniformity of the instrumentation up to that point.
William Sharp, bass-baritone
The Folger Consort's 2009-2010 season will be devoted to music from around the year 1610, centered on a performance of Claudio Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers at Washington National Cathedral (January 8 to 9, 2010). Other programs include a comparison of 17th-century music in Italy and China (October 2 to 4), a German Baroque Christmas program with Cantate Chamber Singers (December 11 to 20), a French Baroque program (March 19 to 21, 2010), and Robert Dowland's Musical Banquet, from 1610 (April 9 to 11, 2010).