If this week’s delightfully cooler temperatures have left you reaching for sweaters again, a Charlottesville-based Baroque ensemble may offer just the Mediterranean-inspired soothing you need.
Three Notch’s Road: The Virginia Baroque Ensemble new program, "Southern Warmth: Spanish, Croatian, Portuguese & Italian," set for 4 p.m. Sunday at Grace Episcopal Church in Keswick, will heat things up with vintage Italian airs and Spanish music that may have been Italian all along.
Other performances are planned for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Trinity Episcopal Church in Staunton and 7:30 p.m. Saturday at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Richmond.
"I always approach programs wanting to play my favorite pieces, and do research," said Fiona Hughes, Baroque violinist and artistic director of Three Notch’d Road. "What was early music in Croatia like? What was early music in Portugal like?"
During the fourth concert of the ensemble’s 12th season, music fans also will enjoy learning about the ties between many Spanish and Italian composers who were active in the 1700s.
"A lot of these people we think of as Spanish composers spent a lot of time in Italy and Naples," Hughes said.
Joining Hughes will be soprano Addy Sterrett, Christa Patton on harp and recorders, Anne Timberlake on recorders, Benjamin Wyatt on Baroque cello and Jennifer Streeter on organ.
Hughes said the portable pipe organ Streeter will be playing is "about the size of a kitchen island. The only reason we don’t always have organ is it’s heavy."
Hughes also said listeners are in for a treat when a star on the rise sings. Hughes first heard Sterrett sing at a Bach festival in Charlotte, North Carolina, and knew the soprano would be an excellent fit for Three Notch’d Road’s style.
"I thought, ‘I’ve got to grab her before everyone else does,’" Hughes said. "I just love her approach to [J.S.] Bach in particular."
Patton will be performing on Italian triple harp, an instrument that boasts three rows of strings.
Unlike the modern harp audience members may be more familiar with, which uses pedals to bring desired sets of strings into position, "the harpist has to reach inside the strings to reach the chromatic notes," Hughes said.
Together, the musicians will share chamber music by Luigi Boccherini, Italian airs by G.F. Handel and Antonio Vivaldi and a variety of pieces from Croatia, Spain and Portugal.
Tickets are $25; youths and students get in for $10. Learn more and get tickets at www.tnrbaroque.org or (434) 409-3424.