Sunday, January 23, 2022, 4 p.m.
Corpus Christi Church
Tina Chancey, director, vielle, kamenj, rebec
Nell Snaidas, soprano
Grant Herreid, lute, shawm, tenor voice
Priscilla Herreid, recorders, shawm, bagpipe, soprano voice
The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Early Music & Early Film
Prepare to be enchanted by the 1923 silent film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as Hesperus, an early music quartet based in Washington, D.C. and directed by Tina Chancey, provides a live soundtrack of French medieval music. Based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same title, the film starring Lon Chaney is sumptuously set in turbulent 15th-century France, and Hesperus’s songs and dances dovetail with every overwrought gesture.
“The Hunchback of Notre Dame [was shown] to the strains of music by von Bingen, Machaut, Dufay and other composers … so that the great crowd scenes of medieval fairs and street fights played out to raucous medieval dance music and songs. The performance showed scholarship well used in the service of artistry and fun.”—Washington Post
The virtual program becomes available on Sunday, January 30, 4 p.m. ET, followed by a live Q&A, and remains viewable until February 13.
Artist Bios and Program
Innovative, historically informed, and multi-cultural, Hesperus’s programs connect the rich musical past with curious 21st-century concertgoers. They offer early music soundtracks for silent movies, partnerships with theater, mime and dance, musical portraits of a single culture through time, fusions of European early music with American traditional styles, and single-genre early music programs from the medieval era to the American Civil War. Whatever the genre, Hesperus performs with creative energy, technical assurance, and a delicious sense of irony.
Tina Chancey directs Hesperus, known for its live early music soundtracks for such classic silent films as Robin Hood and Nosferatu. She plays medieval and traditional fiddles and viol on roots (world) music from Sephardic and Irish to Machaut and Marais. Her specialty is the pardessus de viole: she presented debut concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall and Kennedy Center and released five pardessus recordings. She also directed an International Pardessus Conference at the Boston Early Music Festival. A member of Trio Sefardi and Are We There Yet?, she teaches, performs, produces recordings, and writes popular and scholarly articles. She has received a Special Education Achievement Award from Early Music America and four Wammies from the Washington Area Music Association.
Grant Herreid has performed on early reeds, brass, strings and voice with many early music ensembles. A noted teacher and educator, he is the recipient of Early Music America’s Laurette Goldberg award for excellence in early music outreach and education. On the faculty at Yale University, he leads the Yale Collegium Musicum and the Yale Baroque Opera Project (YBOP). Grant also directs the New York Continuo Collective and devotes much of his time to exploring the esoteric unwritten traditions of early music with the ensembles Ex Umbris and Ensemble Viscera.
Priscilla Herreid plays period oboes, recorders, and a multitude of renaissance wind instruments with some of the finest ensembles in the US and abroad. She appears regularly with Piffaro, The Handel + Haydn Society, Trinity Baroque Orchestra, Tempesta di Mare, and The Sebastians. She is often seen with Boston Baroque, Portland Baroque, Venice Baroque, Philharmonia Baroque, and Ex Umbris. Priscilla was part of the onstage band for the Shakespeare on Broadway productions of Twelfth Night and Richard III, starring Mark Rylance. Priscilla’s playing has been called “downright amazing” by the Philadelphia Inquirer and “particularly fine” by the Washington Post. The New York Times has praised her “soaring recorder, gorgeously played.”
Grammy-nominated artist Nell Snaidas has been praised by the New York Times for her “beautiful soprano voice,” her “vocally ravishing” performances, and “melting passion.” Of Uruguayan-American descent, Nell is recognized for her specialization in Latin American/Spanish and Italian early music and has sung in venues ranging from the Hollywood Bowl to the missions of Bolivia. Favorite projects include several operatic performances with the Boston Early Music Festival, recording the movie-soundtrack to The Producers with Mel Brooks in the booth, and collaborating with Alicia Keys on the musical arrangement and Italian translation of her Superwoman for Kathleen Battle. Nell is the co-artistic director of GEMAS, a concert series in New York City. It is devoted to the early music and musicians of the Americas, in collaboration with Americas Society and GEMS.