This preview has been provided by Carolina Pro Musica.

Carolina Pro Musica continues its season at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church on February 7, 2015 with a program entitled So longs the Soul. Through both vocal and instrumental selections the ensemble explores the desire of the human soul to touch the eternal. Featured will be Joseph-Hector Fiocco’s Lamentations – a setting of verses from The Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah, arias by J.S. Bach including Bete, bete from Cantata 115 and instrumental works by Marcello, Bach and Veracini. Carolina Pro Musica consists of organist and director, Karen Hite-Jacob, recorder and traverso player, Edward Ferrell, soprano Rebecca Miller Saunders and viola da gamba player, Holly Maurer. Their use of instruments appropriate for the time period enlivens and enriches the experience of this unusual chamber music.

Lament, atonement and repentance are the themes of The Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah. Fiocco follows the centuries old tradition of using 3 sets of verses from Lamentations, one set for each of three matins services during Holy Week. Matins is one of the seven daily prayer services of the monastic communities. The ensemble will perform the second set of verses. One characteristic of Lamentations is the preservation of the Hebrew letters at the beginning of each verse: Alpha, Bet, Gimel etc. Fiocco gives each letter a long melisma, following the example of Gregorian chant. Audiences will hear Saunders haunting performance of long melodic passages on one syllable as the instruments accompany her line. The viola da gamba is an equal partner with the soprano in this setting and helps to create the longing.

The Bach aria “Bete’ from Cantata 115 features the flute and viola da gamba in a canonical style while the vocal soloist sings a similar musical line. The text states “You should also pray while you are awake! So that He may make you free from sin and purified!” The instruments and voice seem to be encouraging each other to do what is requested. A chamber organ will enhance this performance.

Holly Wright Maurer