Sackbuts and crumhorns and Bach, oh my! 

Musical Weavings will amuse audience with early music instruments

click to enlarge Nancy Ekberg, Maria van der Heijde-Zommerdijk and - Susan Virga of Amuse.
  • Nancy Ekberg, Maria van der Heijde-Zommerdijk and Susan Virga of Amuse.

Where can you go to see a cellist play the bass viola da gamba, sort of like a deep fiddle held between the knees? Or to catch a glimpse of a sackbut, that medieval precursor to the trombone? The Amuse Recorder Ensemble will play grounds, rounds and fugues on early music instruments this Sunday at the First Christian Church.

"There's been a real resurgence [of interest in early music] lately," said Amuse co-founder Nancy Ekberg of Colorado College. Ekberg met Susan Virga five years ago, and when the two came together with recorder and crumhorn-player Maria van der Heijde-Zomerdijk of Boulder, Amuse came into being.

"The hard-core group is really made up of recorders, all shapes and sizes," said Ekberg, but guests who often perform with Amuse include Suzanna Schulze, a cellist with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic; Mike Richard, who plays everything from crumhorn (a capped, double reed instrument that sounds like "singing while holding your nose") to guitar to percussion; and David Virga, who plays the sackbut. Carol Wilson, the regular organist at First Christian, will play harpsichord at the Musical Weavings concert.

"Tracking melodies and themes in different forms as they evolve through history led us to the theme of musical weaving," said Ekberg. Her arrangement of "Dies Erae" traces a traditional French folk melody, "J'ai Vu le Lout," from its origins as a Gregorian chant. Virga's musical mosaic of Spanish pavanes will spice up the afternoon, and the group will perform other medieval, renaissance, and even 20th-century selections. Amuse has worked with the Flanders Recorder Quartet of Belgium, and will welcome them to Colorado Springs and Colorado College for a Nov. 8 concert. Future plans include collaborations with local groups like Abend Music, and setting up more educational programs -- to delight more Coloradans with early musical weavings.

-- J.N. Nail

capsule Musical Weavings with Amuse early music consort

Sunday, Aug. 22, 3 p.m.

First Christian Church, 16 E. Platte Ave.

Free, goodwill offering welcomed

Call 633-8888

  • Musical Weavings will amuse audience with early music instruments


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