Live from Aston Magna
Concertos and Symphonies by Corelli, Caldara, Handel, and Haydn
John Hsu, conductor
About Aston Magna
The Aston Magna Foundation for Music and the Humanities is dedicated to the performance of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music. Founded in 1972 by Lee Elman and Albert Fuller, the Aston Magna Festival (John Hsu, Artistic Director, 1984-1990), which in 1990 presented its eighteenth season in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and its seventh season at Bard College, is the oldest summer festival in America devoted to music performed on period instruments. Among the many highlights of Aston Magna's pioneering history have been the first performances of the complete Bach Brandenburg Concertos and the first Mozart symphonies heard in America on original instruments. Music from Aston Magna, inaugurated in 1985, takes on tour throughout the year some of the highlights of the summer festival concerts, as well as special programs in conjunction with the Aston Magna Academy Public Outreach Program.
Aston Magna's performances aim to interpret the music of the past as much as possible as the composer imagined it. This involves the use of original instruments or historically accurate reproductions, mastery of the playing and singing techniques appropriate to the period, the understanding of the different musical expressions and aesthetics of the various national styles, and a willingness and curiosity to probe beneath the surface of the music itself by exploring the cultural surroundings and aesthetic temperament of the age in which it was produced.
Such aims are also pursued in Aston Magna's educational programs, the Aston Magna Academy (Raymond Erickson, Director) and the Aston Magna Performance Practice Institute (John Hsu, Director), which are held in alternating summers. The topic of the 1990 Performance Practice Institute at Montclair (New Jersey) State College was "The Performance of Haydn and Mozart, with Reference to the Klavierschule of Daniel Gottlob Türk." In 1986-87, with the support of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Foundation inaugurated the Aston Magna Public Outreach Program (Raymond Erickson, Director), which brings the fruits of past Aston Magna academies to the general public at various museums, libraries, and educational institutions nationwide.
About the Conductor
John Hsu, Artistic Director of Aston Magna (1984-1990), is the Old Dominion Foundation Professor of Humanities and Music at Cornell University, where he has taught since 1955 and was Chairman of the Music Department from 1966 to 1971. He has been an Artist Faculty member at Aston Magna since 1974, and has appeared as a performer on viola da gamba, baryton, cello, organ, harpsichord, and as a conductor. He is also the founding member of The Haydn Baryton Trio. His recordings include the first complete recording of the five suites for viola da gamba by Antoine Forqueray, made on the occasion of the tercentenary of Forqueray's birth in 1972, a series of discs of Pièces de viole by Marin Marais, selected Baryton Trios by Haydn (with David Miller, viola, and Fortunato Arico, cello), of which Volume 2, released on CD, LP, and cassette by Gaudeamus in London, 1989, was chosen winner in the "Early Instrumental" category of the Music Retailers Association's Annual Award for Excellence. He has also recorded some 30 solo viola da gamba programs for European radio broadcast.
Mr. Hsu is the author of A Handbook of French Baroque Viol Technique, and the editor of the first modern edition of the complete instrumental works of Marin Marais. He was Artist-in-Residence at the University of California, Davis, in 1983; and Regents' Lecturer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1985. He is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, Boston, which awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Music degree in 1971. Other honors include an Honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey, Honorary Memberships of both the Riemenschneider Bach Institute and the Viola da Gamba Society of America.
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