Performance Wednesday, April 8, 2015 | 7:30 PM


Music for a While: Improvisations on Henry Purcell

Zankel Hall
Purcell’s works for the church, theater, and court displays his unsurpassed mastery in setting English words to music. Some of his finest songs, selections from his ceremonial odes, arias from his great stage works, and a beautiful sacred anthem will be showcased in this program that marks the return of L’Arpeggiata to Zankel Hall. Opera News wrote, “The concerts presented by L’Arpeggiata—the hip, international early-music ensemble—are fun happenings full of music flair, dramatic surprises, and improvisatory verve.”


  • L'Arpeggiata
    Christina Pluhar, Artistic Director
  • Nuria Rial, Soprano
  • Vincenzo Capezzuto, Alto
  • Gianluigi Trovesi, Clarinet


  • CAZZATI Ciaccona
  • PURCELL "Music for a while"
  • PURCELL "'Twas within a furlong of Edinborough Town" from The Mock Marriage
  • Improvisation: La Dia Spagnola
  • PURCELL "A prince of glorious race descended"
  • PURCELL "One charming night" from The Fairy Queen
  • PURCELL "Ah! Belinda" from Dido and Aeneas
  • PURCELL "An Evening Hymn"
  • PURCELL "Strike the viol" from Come, ye sons of art away
  • PURCELL Dido's Lament from Dido and Aeneas
  • PURCELL "Wondrous machine!" (Ode to St. Cecilia)
  • PURCELL "Two in one upon a ground" from Dioclesian
  • PURCELL "Here the deities approve" from Welcome to all pleasures
  • Improvisation: Canario
  • PURCELL "Man is for the woman made"
  • PURCELL "Curtain tune on a Ground"
  • PURCELL "Oh, let me weep" (The Plaint) from The Fairy Queen
  • PURCELL "Hark! How the songsters of the grove" from Timon of Athens

  • Encores:
  • TRAD. Pizzica
  • LEONARD COHEN "Hallelujah"


  • L'Arpeggiata

    Founded in 2000 by Artistic Director Christina Pluhar, L'Arpeggiata is composed of some of today's finest soloists who work in collaboration with the most exceptional singers from the Baroque music world. L'Arpeggiata's performances are based on instrumental improvisation and singing that focuses on vocal interpretation influenced by traditional music.

    Since its founding, L'Arpeggiata has received incredible responses from audiences and outstanding critical acclaim. Its albums-including La Villanella; Homo fugit velut umbra; La Tarantella; Teatro d'Amore; All' Improvviso; Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo; Los Impossibles; Via Crucis; and
    Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine-have earned a string of accolades, among them ECHO Klassik and Edison Classical Music awards. Los Pájaros Perdidos (2012) is devoted to traditional and Baroque music from Latin America, and Mediterraneo (2013) featuresfado singer Mísia.

    L'Arpeggiata has participated in many festivals around the world, including the London Festival of Baroque Music, Festival Oude Muziek in Utrecht, Festival Baroque de Pontoise, Printemps des arts in Nantes, Rencontres Musicales de Vézelay, Festival International de Musiques Sacrées in Fribourg, Festival de l'Abbaye de Saint-Michel en Thiérache, Festival de Sablé, Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele, and Hong Kong Arts Festival.

    Christina Pluhar

    Having established a highly successful career as a multifaceted instrumentalist in early music and Baroque repertoire, Christina Pluhar has come to be identified in the 21st century as the founder and music director of the vocal-instrumental ensemble L'Arpeggiata. Ms. Pluhar leads this group in similar repertoire, but with a focus on Italian fare and an infusion of jazz and folk elements. A master of several instruments-including Baroque guitar, Renaissance lute, archlute, theorbo, and Baroque harp-she has performed both as soloist and continuo player throughout Europe, the UK, and Australia. She has performed with many famous early-music ensembles and has been featured with L'Arpeggiata on numerous recordings for such labels as Alpha Productions, EMI, and Naïve.

    Born in Graz, Austria, Ms. Pluhar studied lute at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. She also studied with Hopkinson Smith at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basel, Switzerland, and with Mara Galassi at the Civica Scuola di Musica in Milan. She moved to Paris in 1992 and began performing regularly with various ensembles and Baroque orchestras in Europe. Since 1993, she has been conducting master classes at Graz University. She has served as professor of Baroque harp at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague since 1999.

    In 2000, Ms. Pluhar founded L'Arpeggiata. Choosing some of the finest artists in Europe as members, L'Arpeggiata achieved success virtually overnight with its first CD, La Villanella (a collection of Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger vocal works). Ms. Pluhar has since led L'Arpeggiata in joint concerts with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, The King's Singers, and Corsican vocal ensemble Barbara Furtuna. Acclaimed recordings include the albums La Tarantella, All' Improvviso (with Gianluigi Trovesi), and Los Impossibles (with The King's Singers); as well as the Virgin Classics recordings Teatro d'Amore (with Philippe Jaroussky and Nuria Rial), Via Crucis (with Barbara Furtuna), Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine
    , Los Pájaros Perdidos, and Mediterraneo (with fado singer Mísia).

    In 2012, L'Arpeggiata was the first Baroque ensemble to be named a Perspectives artist at Carnegie Hall.

    More Info

  • Nuria Rial

    Nuria Rial's musical education began in Catalonia, where she studied piano and received the honor prize in singing. She continued her studies at the Musik-Akademie Basel with Kurt Widmer and earned an advanced diploma in singing. During this time, she received prizes from the Helvetia Patria Jeunesse Foundation and Pro Europa-European Foundation for Culture.

    Ms. Rial has appeared as a soloist with a number of the leading ensembles and orchestras in Europe, including Kammerorchester Basel, Il Giardino Armonico, Concerto Köln, Seville Baroque Orchestra, Hungarian Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, and Les Musiciens du Louvre. She has collaborated with conductors René Jacobs, Giovanni Antonini, Paul Goodwin, Lawrence Cummings, Pierre Cao, and Howard Griffiths, among others. Ms. Rial performs in major festivals across Europe and as far afield as Bolivia, Mexico, Cuba, and Israel.

    Ms. Rial's work in opera has led to productions at some of the leading opera houses in Europe, including La Monnaie in Brussels, the Berlin Staatsoper, and Paris's Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. She
    recently performed the role of Pamina in Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa.

    Ms. Rial's extensive discography includes recordings with Harmonia Mundi (France), Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, Virgin Records, Oehms Classics, Mirare, Alpha, and Glossa Music.

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  • Vincenzo Capezzuto

    Vincenzo Capezzuto has performed as a principal dancer with Teatro di San Carlo, English National Ballet, Julio Bocca's Ballet Argentino, Michele Merola's MM Contemporary Dance Company, and Aterballetto. He has danced all over the world in productions choreographed by Mauro Bigonzetti, William Forsythe, and Ohad Naharin, among others. In addition to being honored with many awards, he has also been invited by Vittoria Ottolenghi, Alessandra Ferri, Maximiliano Guerra, and Alberto Testa to perform in prestigious galas.

    As a singer, Mr. Capezzuto regularly collaborates with L'Arpeggiata and is featured on the ensemble's most recent recordings:
    Via Crucis,Los PájarosPerdidos,Mediterraneo, and Music for a While: Improvisations on Purcell. He has performed at the Hong Kong Arts Festival, Carnegie Hall, the BBC Proms in London, and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. In November 2010, he was invited on a European tour as singer and dancer with the European Baroque Orchestra, led by Ms. Pluhar.

    As guest singer, Mr. Capezzuto has been featured on Il Pomo d'Oro's recording of charming Venetian Baroque music, directed by Riccardo Minasi.
    He also performed on the celebrated recording Ti amo anche se non so chi sei alongside prestigious Italian singers Fiorella Mannoia, Gianni Morandi, Lucio Dalla, Franco Battiato, and Ron.In 2011, Mr. Capezzuto and Claudio Borgianni created Soqquadro Italiano.

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  • Gianluigi Trovesi

    Born in 1944 in Northern Italy, Gianluigi Trovesi earned a diploma in clarinet performance in 1966. He quickly established himself as an outstanding soloist and is considered the leading exponent of Italian jazz today. He has previously taught clarinet and saxophone at the conservatories of Milan, Stockholm, and Brescia; he continues to teach privately and joined the teaching staff of the Siena National Jazz Seminars. Over the years, Mr. Trovesi has been awarded many prizes, including the RAI Radio 1 jazz prize in 1983. In 1978, he won the RAI TV National Competition for saxophone and clarinet, and was awarded the Critics' National Prize for his first LP, Baghet.

    Mr. Trovesi performs practically every genre of music, from dance-band music to classical and jazz. He has worked with a wide variety of important musicians, including Anthony Braxton, John Carter, Steve Lacy, Albert Mangelsdorff, Misha Mengelberg, Evan Parker, Michel Portal, Louis Sclavis, and Kenny Wheeler. In Italy, he worked with such artists as Paolo Fresu, Enrico Rava, and Paolo Damiani (with whom he co-led the band Roccellanea). From 1979 to 1993, Mr. Trovesi held the chair of first alto saxophone in the RAI TV Big Band in Milan. From 1977 to 1982, he was a member of the Giorgio Gaslini Quintet. In 1977, he also started his own trio to explore the crossover between Italian folk music and jazz improvisation. From 1984 to 1992, he toured his solo project Les boîtes à musique, a live performance using pre-recorded tapes and electronic processing.

    Mr. Trovesi is the leader of his octet and composes music that infuses jazz with reminiscences of European classical and various ethnic traditions. Since its founding in 1991, the octet has appeared in many major cities and festivals in Europe and Canada. Its recordings-From G to G (1992) and Les HommesArmés (1996)-received highest critical praise. Also in 1991, Mr. Trovesi joined the Italian Instabile Orchestra, which played on four continents and presented its third CD recording on Enja Records in 2000, Litania Sibilante. His current activities also include his nonet (which recorded Round About a Midsummer's Dream), his duo Radici with Gianni Coscia, and a trio with Riccardo Tesi and Patrick Vaillant.

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Pre-concert talk starts at 6:30 PM in Zankel Hall with Christina Pluhar in conversation with Jeremy Geffen, Director of Artistic Planning, Carnegie Hall.


Cazzati's Ciaccona

At a Glance

Henry Purcell’s lifetime (1659–1695) coincides almost exactly with the period known as the Restoration, following the restrictive Puritan era in 1660. Until his 30th year, Purcell was chiefly a composer of pious church music and pieces for festive occasions at court. When in 1688 William and Mary evinced less and less demand for court music, Purcell moved into the theatrical field and created most of his more than 40 scores for the theater in the last five years of his life.

The Restoration period long suffered from an extremely bad reputation among theater historians and Shakespeare scholars, while musicologists were accustomed to bewail with deep sighs the fact that with the exception of his only “true” opera Dido and Aeneas, Purcell had frittered away his genius on a bastardized form of musical theater. Admittedly, Purcell’s music, which was handed down in collections of songs compiled after his death, escaped condemnation and was held in high regard; but the contexts in which these pieces had originated now disappeared. It may be doubted whether his subsequent beatification did Purcell justice, for Britain’s honorary Orpheus was a child of his time, and his art was rich and flexible enough to encompass its contradictory tendencies. 
Program Notes


An Introduction to Before Bach

Before Bach
This performance is part of Off the Beaten Track, and Before Bach.

Part of