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Les Delices expands its palette with eclectic 10th anniversary season

September 24, 2018

Les Delices expands its palette with eclectic 10th anniversary season

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- No longer is it fair to pigeonhole Les Delices as French Baroque specialists. In fact, it’s flat-out wrong.

These days, at the start of its 10th anniversary, the collective founded by oboist Debra Nagy looks more like a general early-music ensemble, a group with interests and expertise all over the musical map.

“We’ve far exceeded my expectations,” Nagy said. “At first, I was just trying to make a musical home for myself. But it’s become much more than that. Now it’s about sharing with the community.”

The truth of that claim is easy to verify. Look no further than Nagy’s plans for the 2018-19 season, which for the first time entail a complete series in Akron.

A new, eclectic year begins Saturday with a novel “Fortepiano Day” and concludes in April with a world premiere. In between come a second program devoted to Mozart, Charpentier’s Midnight Mass, and a multi-media collaboration with Chicago’s Newberry Consort bringing to life the Leuven Songbook, a tiny, 15th-century treasure only discovered in 2014.

“I don’t think any arts organization can rest on its laurels with only one type of program,” Nagy explained. “I think this season reflects the best of everything we’ve learned over the last 10 years.”

MOZART IN PARIS (Oct. 4-7)

After taking part in a “Fortepiano Day” (10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29 at Plymouth Church), Les Delices and pianist Sylvia Berry will delve into a program examining Mozart through the lens of his now lesser-known 18th-century peers. Come for Mozart’s beloved “Gran Partita.” Stay for the rewarding music by Boccherini, Cambini, and Schobert (yes, Schobert). “It’s a fantastic opportunity to hear music you probably don’t know,” Nagy said.

CHARPENTIER’S MIDNIGHT MASS (Dec. 21-23)

Buoyed by their collaboration last season, Les Delices and Quire Cleveland partner up again, this time for Charpentier’s Midnight Mass, a collection of carols and other sacred music celebrating the Christmas holiday. Guest conductor Eric Milnes also presides over a performance of Charpentier’s “Dialogue Between the Angels and the Shepherds.” “We have parallel missions,” Nagy said of the two groups. “For us to work together is a pretty logical thing.”

THE LEUVEN SONGBOOK (Jan. 18-20)

In an ideal world, Nagy would borrow this newly-discovered collection of 15th-century music and allow everyone to appreciate it in person. Alas, that’s both impractical and impossible. Instead, Les Delices and friends from Chicago’s Newberry Consort will display its images digitally and perform a selection of its previously unknown musical contents. “I like to think of them as rare B-sides,” Nagy said. “There’s something special about the personal experience of it.”

THE ELEMENTS (April 5-7)

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Les Delices commissioned Oberlin Conservatory alum Theo Chandler to pen a piece inspired by this program’s other, equally avant-garde main attraction, Jean-Fery Rebel’s “The Elements.” How Chandler responded to that challenge remains to be heard, but Nagy said to expect a musical “reverse engineering” of the older work. When it comes to writing new music for gifted players of old instruments, Nagy said, “You want be able to capitalize on everything they’re capable of.”

PREVIEW

Les Delices

What: “Mozart in Paris: Part 2”

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4 (Akron); 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 (Lakewood); and 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 7 (Shaker Heights).

Where: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 50 N. Prospect St., Akron; Lakewood Congregational Church, 1375 W. Clifton Blvd., Lakewood; Plymouth Church, 2860 Coventry Rd., Shaker Heights.

Tickets: $25-$35. Go to lesdelices.org or call 216-302-8404.

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