Chamber Concert Updates Love Songs Old and New


Contributed by Erik Kibelsbeck

Reconstruction, a quartet of boundary-breaking chamber musicians, will give a free guest recital, Bedlam, Back, and Beyond: The Agony and Ecstasy of Love, on Wednesday, April 7. The performance will begin at 8:15 p.m. in the Hockett Family Recital Hall in the Whalen Center.

Reconstruction will perform with guest soprano and Baroque guitarist Elizabeth Ronan-Silva.

The program combines the sensual love songs of such Baroque masters as Purcell and Monteverdi with the evocative works of Karen Hansen and other contemporary composers. Reconstruction presents music of intense longing, wild jealousy, all-consuming love and desperation -- those feelings of vivid passion that could drive one to madness, bedlam, and beyond.

Holly Chatham (harpsichord), Nell Snaidas (soprano and Renaissance guitar), Joanna Blendulf (Baroque and modern cellos), and Catherine Webster (soprano) met while touring with the early music group Bimbetta. The four women discovered their shared passion for taking a modern approach to theatrical presentations of Baroque music and for combining Baroque music with newly commissioned works. In 2003 their new group made its debut at California's "Music in the Vineyards" series. Reconstruction was how they christened themselves because, for them, the name was synonymous with "reform," "modernization," "renewal," and "re-enactment."

There was a touch of theater throughout the evening," wrote a critic for the San Francisco Classical Voice. "I had never heard classically trained singers accompany themselves instrumentally, and so effectively. The guitars were only used for a handful of pieces, but the percussive strumming added a touch of Flamenco to a sound that was already electric. Through acting, gestures, and creative use of stage space, they presented songs of love and longing with affable humor and classy sensuality."

Contributed by Erik Kibelsbeck