The Mostly Baroque Christmas Concert, presented by the Esopus Chamber Orchestra at the Kleinert/James Arts Center this Friday evening, December 23, will include frequently performed favorites that every classical aficionado loves: the Bach Orchestral Suite No. 2 and the Corelli Christmas Concerto. But it will also feature a world premiere of sorts: two pieces by Tomaso Albinoni, a once-famous Baroque composer, much of whose work was lost after the World War II bombing of Dresden destroyed most of his compositions, which were stored in the Dresden State Library.
Recently, however, while looking for repertory, Nadège Foofat, founder and conductor of the Esopus Chamber Orchestra, discovered several pieces of music by Albinoni that had been scanned by scholars and posted on the International Music Score Library Project website. The very old scores were stamped at the bottom “Dresden State Library,” so presumably the music was transferred out of that institution before the bombing and saved. “None of my musicians can find recordings of the music, so this is a premiere,” Foofat said.
A Stone Ridge-based conductor and violinist who has performed at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and many other prestigious venues, Foofat founded the Chamber Orchestra in 2009 as a way for all the talented, accomplished classical musicians in the Hudson Valley to stick around now and then and share their talents with local audiences. “When I was founding the group, I thought, ‘Why are all these Hudson Valley musicians traveling to New York City and Boston to perform?’” she said. “We draw together the best of local musicians.”
The orchestra’s 17 permanent members come from as far as Saratoga Springs to the north and Beacon to the south. They have performed at a variety of venues, including, in the last month, Schenectady Community College and Photosensualis Gallery in Woodstock. Foofat said that the goal is to increase the number of members to 25 by spring; as it is now, sometimes the group will use other musicians to fill in an orchestral part not yet represented by a full-time member, such as a brass player.
Foofat added that the member-run organization requires everyone to support the group in some way – by volunteering his or her time to write a grant proposal, for example. “It’s a community,” she said. Membership is by invitation, through member referrals, rather than by vetting through an audition process.
The three-hour concert starts at 8 p.m. Tickets go for $20 general admission, $15 for students and seniors, and can be purchased online at www.esopuschamberorchestra.com, or by calling (845) 901-5389. The Kleinert is located in Woodstock at 34 Tinker Street.