Polyphemus

Dylan Sauerwald, Director

German baroque music for viola da gamba and harpsichord

Shirley Hunt, viola da gamba
Dylan Sauerwald, harpsichord

Full program:

Dietrich Buxtehude: Sonata in D major for viola da gamba and continuo BuxWV 267
Johann Sebastian Bach: Sonata in D major for viola da gamba and harpsichord BWV 1028

Georg Philipp Telemann: Sonata in E minor for viola da gamba and continuo TWV 41:e5
Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach: Sonata in G minor for viola da gamba and harpsichord Wq. 88

Program abstract:

The viola da gamba and harpsichord were  an odd pair for progressive music in the early 18th century: both were gradually losing popularity, and both were associated primarily with older, well-worn genres of music. And yet, the sonata with obbligato keyboard, which would become the cutting edge of chamber music, has its earliest examples in the viola da gamba and harpsichord sonatas of the Bach family. This program features four masterpieces from the Bach circle, tracing the old roots found in Buxtehude through J.S. Bach's beloved D major sonata, Telemann's explicitly vocal treatment, to C.P.E. Bach and his foreshadowing of Mozart's violin sonatas. 

Runtime: approx. 65 mins total

Excerpt from 'Suite d'un goût étranger' by Marin Marais

Dylan Sauerwald is a distinctive historical keyboardist and conductor. At the keyboard, he has been praised for his “fleet fingers” and “sophisticated playing,” (Capriccio), and as a conductor, his productions have been called “heart-wrenching and self-reflecting” (OperaWire). Mr. Sauerwald has performed in venues from New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to Taipei's National Recital Hall, and his playing is featured in the BBC historical drama Poldark.

As a recording artist, Mr. Sauerwald can be heard on the New Focus, Coro, and Urtext labels, as soloist and continuo player on the harpsichord, organ, fortepiano, and lautenwerck. Standout recordings include the world premiere of David Funck's 1677 collection Stricturae Viola-di Gambicae, as well as appearances at the fortepiano with the Handel & Haydn Society in a disc of Haydn's orchestral works, and as harpsichord soloist in Manuel de Falla's Retablo del Maese Pedro with Unitas Ensemble.

A champion of early opera, he has led productions of rarely-performed works acclaimed as “refined and flexible,” (Boston Globe) “fearless,” (Voce di Meche) and “a remarkable musical experience” (OperaWire). He is in demand as a guest conductor, appearing with Sunshine City Opera, the Cantanti Project, Dorian Baroque, Ensemble Musica Humana, and others.

Mr. Sauerwald directs Polyphemus, an early music collective and concert series in lower Manhattan, and is Director of Music at the New Dorp Moravian Church. He can be heard performing with the Handel & Haydn Society, Emmanuel Music, Lorelei Ensemble, Dorian Baroque, The Weckmann Project, Ensemble Musica Humana, Ensemble ad Libitum and many others. He lives in New York City and holds a Bachelor of Music degree in early keyboard performance from McGill University and a Master of Music degree from Boston University.

Internationally respected baroque cellist and viola da gamba player Shirley Hunt brings fierce imagination and integrity to the music of the Renaissance, Baroque, and contemporary eras.  Praised by The Strad as “stylish and accomplished,” she embraces an eclectic musical life as a multi-instrumental soloist and collaborator.

Her recent CD release J.S. Bach Suites & Sonatas Volume One is the first installment in an ambitious three-part recording project featuring Bach’s complete cello suites and viola da gamba sonatas.  Early Music America called the disc “a fine debut and one with promise for future projects.” Facts & Arts noted her “soulful renditions,” “high-wire interpretations,” and “resonant, singing tone that stays in the mind.”

In high demand as viola da gamba soloist and continuo cellist for the Passions, Cantatas, and Concertos of J.S. Bach, Ms. Hunt has performed and recorded with the nation's leading period instrument ensembles including Boston BaroqueHandel and Haydn SocietyPhilharmonia Baroque OrchestraAmerican Bach SoloistsPortland Baroque OrchestraMusica Angelica, and Bach Collegium San Diego. In 2011 she toured Europe and South America with John Malkovich and Wiener Akademie, and between 2008 and 2010 performed on the adapted viola and harmonic canon in PARTCH, the Los Angeles Harry Partch band.  

Ms. Hunt has performed solo recitals at DePaul University, the Berkeley Early Music Festival, the Boston Public Library, King’s Chapel, the Loring-Greenough House, the Early Music Series at the Bryon Colby Barn, and Spectrum NYC.  Since 2011 Ms. Hunt has performed a yearly recital as an artist-in-residence at The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles.  She has also appeared at the Phillips Collection, The Strathmore Mansion, La Jolla Music Society, National Sawdust, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (where she performed on a viola da gamba from the museum’s collection).

In addition to her concert appearances, Ms. Hunt can be heard on the Parma, NCA, and Origin Classical labels as well as on numerous pop/rock albums and Hollywood film soundtracks.  She has served as a Visiting Teaching Artist at CalArts, given masterclasses at the University of Wisconsin and Adelphi University, and appeared as a guest speaker at Harvard University’s Quincy House and at the BEMF Young Artist Training Program.  She has been an artist-in-residence at The Banff Centreand was a recipient of the Voices of Music Young Artist Award.

Her primary studies were with Hans Jensen at Northwestern University and with Ronald Leonard at the University of Southern California.  She also studied viola da gamba with Mary Springfels and baroque cello with Phoebe Carrai.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Ms. Hunt was born into a musical family and is the younger sister of the late mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.  Ms. Hunt divides her time between Boston and New York City.  She performs on a 1775 English cello by William Forster Sr. and on a bass viola da gamba by John Pringle.