Science Ficta musicians perform, lecture at YSU
The ensemble Science Ficta will perform Saturday at Youngstown State University and two of its members will speak Monday as part of the Dana Lecture Series.
Science Ficta — Loren Ludwig, viola da gamba; Doug Balliett, baroque double bass; and Dana faculty member Kivie Cahn-Lipman, cello — tackles the thorniest polyphonic challenges, old and new.
Longtime friends and collaborators in baroque band ACRONYM, the trio formed an ensemble in 2016 dedicated to music at least as difficult to play as it is to listen to. Science Ficta’s arcane but rewarding repertory is comprised both of new commissions and a wealth of little-known older works that have been neglected unjustly by modern performers and listeners.
Science Ficta served as ensemble in residence at the University of Virginia in 2019 and will be in residence at Columbia University in 2022. The ensemble’s first CD, viol music by composer Molly Herron, was released in August.
The concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Bliss Recital Hall includes eclectic early English music for viol consort, a set of bizarre canons by galant-era composer Christoph Graupner and the modern premiere of a piece from the dawn of the early-instrument revival.
In 1901, encouraged by Saint-Saens, the violist and composer Henri Casadesus formed a new ensemble. He had mastered the viola d’amore, a defunct baroque 14-string instrument, and his brother learned the quinton. Their wives played violas da gamba. Calling themselves the Societe des Instruments Anciens, the Casadesus family band toured the world for the first three decades of the 20th century, introducing audiences to little-known baroque music as well as original works written by Henri. Science Ficta, joined by YSU alum and regional fiddle player Caitlin Hedge on viola d’amore, will perform the modern premiere of Casadesus’s “The Four Seasons.”
Ludwig and Balliett also will give lectures at 2:30 p.m. in Bliss Hall, Room 3136.
Ludwig’s talk called “Maintaining a point”: [m]inimalist Strategies in Sixteenth-Century Polyphony will focus on a range of little-known “minimalist” pieces from the 16th century, and reflect on what the use of minimalist techniques across nearly 500 years of Western musical history might teach us about the musical aesthetics of repetition. Balliett’s talk, “The Beatles in 1966,” will examine the development of the Beatles’ music in 1966, with a focus on Revolver and its attendant singles.
Admission to both events is free.