Baroque, Loving It and Playing in Jakarta

By webadmin on 05:04 pm May 27, 2012
Category Archive

Katrin Figge

Never heard of Baroque music? Don’t care much for classical music in general?

An upcoming performance by Le Poeme Harmonique, a chamber ensemble and orchestra formed in 1998, just might change your mind.

The ensemble was started by French lutist Vincent Dumestre, a musician who studied art history and classical guitar before turning his attention to the lute, Baroque guitar and theorbo, a plucked string instrument. After participating in concerts around the world, he decided to help revive early music by bringing together a group of talented musicians, and Le Poeme Harmonique was born.

For his efforts and hard work, Dumestre was named a “Young Talent of the Year” by acclaimed French music magazine Diaspon in 1999, one year after the ensemble was formed.

Le Poeme Harmonique uses rare instruments from past centuries and presents a vocal and instrumental repertoire of early music, with a special focus on the 17th and early 18th centuries. With musicians from different backgrounds and nationalities, the critically acclaimed ensemble has toured the world.

“This is total art, refined in the extreme, and wonderfully alive,” French newspaper Le Monde once wrote of the group.

On Tuesday, Le Poeme Harmonique will take the stage in Indonesia for the first time. The ensemble will celebrate the Italian city of Venice, with music by Claudio Monteverdi and Francesco Manelli, both active during Baroque’s golden age.

Baroque music, which began in the early 17th century and dominated for more than 150 years, is associated with renowned composers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi and Henry Purcell.

In Florence, a group of intellectuals known as the Florentine Camerata helped catalyze the movement when they came together during the late Renaissance and paved the way for new trends in music and drama, leading to the establishment of opera as a music genre.

Le Poeme Harmonique has dedicated itself to ensuring that Baroque music does not disappear, and perhaps finds its way to a broader audience.

Its Jakarta concert promises to be unique. The ensemble will perform on a stage bathed in candlelight, inviting audience members to take a stroll through Venetian castles and go on a gondola ride through the city’s canals.

The concert is part of Le Printemps Francais (French Springtime), an annual festival organized by French cultural center Institut Francais d’Indonesie. The festival presents French art and cultural performances at different locations around the country and runs until July.