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Bartolomeo Bettera, Still Life with Musical Instruments, c. 1680, oil on canvas, Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston

Gallery Concert “Aristocrats at Play: Music for the Viola da Gamba”

Sunday, Aug 17, 2014
4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Beck Building, Second Floor
5601 Main Street Map & Directions

Music was an important part of any aristocratic household in the 17th and 18th centuries—not least the grand country homes of the English gentry, where the viola da gamba reigned supreme as a marker of fine musical sensibilities. The bass member of the viol family, whose roots are in Renaissance consort music, the viola da gamba excels at elaborate gestures and intimate expression. As such, it was perfect for domestic musicales at grand households such as Houghton Hall, the focus of the exhibition Houghton Hall: Portrait of an English Country House, with or without the accompaniment of other instruments and voices.

Members of Ars Lyrica Houston—including Barrett Sills and Jordan Witherspoon on viola da gamba and artistic director Matthew Dirst on harpsichord—explore this rich repertoire (with musical treats by John Jenkins, Carl Friedrich Abel, Marin Marais and others) in an informal program, with commentary on the pieces and the instruments.

Drop in! This program is free with Museum admission. Camp stools provided for seating.

Education programs receive generous funding from the Kinder Foundation; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; ExxonMobil; the Favrot Fund; Occidental Petroleum Corporation; the National Museum of Korea;
Mr. William J. Hill;  the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Susanne M. and Melbern G. Glasscock; Houston Junior Woman’s Club; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; The Crain Foundation; TMK IPSCO; Cameron International Corporation; Aggie and Joe Foster; the Sterling-Turner Foundation; and The Susan Vaughan Foundation.