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Virginia Warnken

“Warnken’s dark, rich voice was a pleasure to hear, especially because she deployed it with such elegance and taste.”

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“Warnken’s dark, rich voice was a pleasure to hear, especially because she deployed it with such elegance and taste.”

 

Seraphic Fire provides excellent view of young Mozart in context
BY GREG STEPANICH

...Alto Virginia Warnken was a very fine soloist in the single-movement cantata Bekennen will ich seinen Namen (BWV 200), which features one of Bach’s most endearing melodies. Warnken’s dark, rich voice was a pleasure to hear, especially because she deployed it with such elegance and taste...

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“Warnken, a bright-voiced mezzo, then delivered a richly ornamented rendition of Caccini’s “Dispiegate guancie amate,” a melancholy, sinuous song of seduction” – The New Yorker

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“Warnken, a bright-voiced mezzo, then delivered a richly ornamented rendition of Caccini’s “Dispiegate guancie amate,” a melancholy, sinuous song of seduction” – The New Yorker

Eyes and Ears

At the Metropolitan Museum, early music in the galleries.

BY ALEX ROSS

 

The sixteenth-century art historian Giorgio Vasari describes a picture by Fra Bartolomeo—“The Mystic Marriage of St. Catherine,” at the Pitti Palace—in which two child angels are seen playing stringed instruments. One of them, Vasari writes, is a lutenist painted “with a leg drawn up and his instrument resting upon it, and with the hands touching the strings in the act of running over them, an ear intent on the harmony, the head upraised, and the mouth slightly open, in such a way that whoever beholds him cannot persuade himself that he should not also hear the voice.”

 

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The Symbiotic Evolution of ‘Partita’ - Roomful of Teeth Performs at Trinity Wall Street

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The Symbiotic Evolution of ‘Partita’ - Roomful of Teeth Performs at Trinity Wall Street

(EXCERPT) There aren’t many words among the sighs, belts and purrs of Caroline Shaw’s vocal octet “Partita” (2009-12), and at first hearing they sound like gibberish. Take these, purloined from Sol LeWitt’s “Wall Drawing 305”: “The eighty-sixth, eighty-seventh and eighty-eighth points are located symmetrically across the central vertical axis of the wall.” It’s about lines and connections, words that in Ms. Shaw’s “Passacaglia” movement disappear into a thicket of nonsensical sibilance as eight speakers overlap.

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NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts - Featuring Virginia Warnken with Roomful of Teeth

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NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts - Featuring Virginia Warnken with Roomful of Teeth

November 10, 2014 by TOM HUIZENGA • Mix a bit of yodeling with Tuvan throat singing, add in a pinch of Sardinian cantu a tenore, fold in compositions from cutting-edge composers and you have the vocal group Roomful of Teeth. This eight-voice ensemble, which includes the 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw, is gleefully dismantling the traditional definition of ensemble singing right before our ears (and teeth!).

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Concerto Delle Donne - Featuring Virginia Warnken

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Concerto Delle Donne - Featuring Virginia Warnken

 

The Renaissance (“rebirth”) in Italy paved the way for incredible discoveries in all areas of human existence. It was a time of great invention, scientific exploration, and lavish expression through art and music.  A renewed focus on the classicsled to many new musical art forms such as opera, and its related focus on philology greatly impacted compositional style.

At the end of the 16th century, the Duke of Ferrara began hosting private events shrouded in secrecy featuring the concerto delle donne, an ensemble of renowned professional women musicians who were hired to entertain guests of the court. By all accounts, these women were phenomenally gifted and they inspired composers to write extraordinarily florid and virtuosic music for them. Rival courts throughout Italy quickly mimicked the original trio to form other concerti delle donne.

During this time of extraordinary creativity, there was greater awareness and limited acceptance of the many women who were composing and performing.  A few stand-outs were Barbara Strozzi, Francesca Caccini, Antonia Bembo, Isabella Leonarda, and Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, among many.  Some lived and worked in wealthy courts while others lived in convents that allowed for surprising freedoms, but it was clear that these women participated handsomely in the world of music during their day.

TENET’s modern take on the tradition of concerti delle donne is rooted in a love of music and history.  For this project, we focus our attention on 17th century Italy in a program featuring sopranos Jolle Greenleaf, Molly Quinn and Virginia Warnken, who have teamed up to share the story of these amazing women and the musical world they inhabited while shedding light on the courtly culture known as as Musica Segreta (“secret music”).

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