Trio Settecento Highlights Handel in Houston Early Music Series

Trio Settecento, comprised of, from left, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, harpsichordist David Schrader and Baroque cellist John Mark Rozendaal, will present a program titled “Handel’s Violin” on Feb. 11, 2018, as a part of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival.

HOUSTON, TX – Trio Settecento returns to the Houston Early Music series with a program titled “Handel’s Violin,” presented as a main-stage concert of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival, which features the music of GeorgeFrideric Handel. The concert will take place Sunday, Feb. 11, at 6 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church and include three violin sonatas by Handel, one by his teacher, Arcangelo Corelli, and one by Francesco Veracini, who knew both composers.

“We are delighted to be part of [the Houston Early Music Festival], because it was Handel who got our whole musical journey together started 20 years ago,” said violinist Rachel Barton Pine about the group she put together two decades ago to record a CD of Handel sonatas. After the success of their CD, which includes the three Handel sonatas on the program, they decided to make their relationship permanent and dubbed themselves Trio Settecento.

The concert will open with the third sonata from Corelli's Opus 5 collection of 12 published in 1700. This collection was “a pervasively influential model for all violinists” in the 18th century, according to John Mark Rozendaal, Baroque cellist with Trio Settecento. He considers the third sonata to be an excellent example of the sonata form and violin techniques laid down in the Opus 5.

One of the violinists of the period who greatly admired the Opus 5 was Veracini, who wrote an homage to the collection, sonata for sonata. His Opus 2 from 1744 mirrors the Opus 5, but in a much more florid style that Pine considers “truly eccentric.” The group will perform the third sonata from Veracini's Opus 2, a direct correlative to the Corelli piece.

The Handel works on the program will trace the evolution of the composer's style. Presented first will be a sonata from a time when the young Handel, still in his 20s, studied with Corelli in Rome during the early 1700s. Next, the trio will play a sonata in A major from the midpoint of the German-born composer's long career in London. Closing the program will be Handel's masterful D-major sonata, the last piece of chamber music he ever wrote.

In addition to the five violin sonatas, the concert will include a Handel harpsichord solo as yet to be determined. This will be performed by the ensemble's harpsichordist, David Schrader, who will also improvise accompaniment for the violin sonatas.

Pine, who has built a substantial career as a soloist with mainstream orchestras around the world, will play an unaltered 1770 violin by Nicolò Gagliano in this period performance. She wears many musical hats, however, and is known to bow an electric Viper violin in the Chicago heavy-metal scene, notably as a member of the former thrash-and-doom band Earthen Grave.         

Trio Settecento will present “Handel’s Violin” on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018, at 6 p.m. at Christ the King Lutheran Church,2353 Rice Blvd., Houston, Texas 77005. The concert is a main-stage event of the Houston Early Music Festival. A pre-concert talk will begin at 5:15 p.m.

Individual tickets are available for $40 general admission, $35 senior admission and $10 for students with valid student ID card. Children under the age of 15 receive free admission.

For more information, e-mail info@HoustonEarlyMusic.org or call 713-325-5370, Ext. 1077.

PhotoTrio Settecento, comprised of, from left, violinist Rachel Barton Pine, harpsichordist David Schrader and Baroque cellist John Mark Rozendaal, will present a program titled “Handel’s Violin” on Feb. 11, 2018, as a part of the 2018 Houston Early Music Festival.

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