by Michael Caruso

Tempesta di Mare, Philadelphia Baroque Orchestra, will continue its 9th season of concerts in Philadelphia with a program entitled “Character of the Dance: Bach’s First Orchestral Suite and the Dances That Inspired It.” Two performances will be given. The first is scheduled for 8:15 p.m., Saturday, March 26, in Old St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church, 321 Willings Alley near 4th and Walnut Streets in Society Hill, and the second is set for 4 p.m., Sunday, March 27, in the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave.

The roster of pieces includes “Les Characteres de la Danse” by Jean-Fery Rebel; “Orchestral Suite in A minor” and “Sinfonia for Strings in G minor” by Johann Friedrich Fasch, and the “Orchestral Suite No. 1 in C major” by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Fasch’s Orchestral Suite will be receiving its modern world premiere while the Sinfonia will be heard in its North American premiere. Many of Fasch’s manuscripts were either destroyed or heavily damaged during World War II, when the American and British air forces bombed many German cities. Major reconstruction work has been accomplished on many of Fasch’s orchestral scores, enabling contemporary period instruments ensembles (such as Tempesta di Mare) to finally perform them as they were intended to be played by the composer.

Tempesta di Mare’s co-directors, Richard Stone and Gwyn Roberts, have explained that there was a long tradition in the baroque epoch to compose imaginary ballets for orchestral ensembles based on the dances that were particularly popular during the 17th century. This was the era when France’s Louis XIV, the “Sun King” who built the Palace at Versailles, dominated all of Europe, both politically and culturally. Over the longer perspective, Louis’ actions contributed mightily to the vengeful violence of the French Revolution starting in 1789.

Tickets for “Character of the Dance” are $35, $25, $20 for seniors, $10 for college students, and free for grades 3rd through 12th. Call 215-735-8776 or visit

The recently formed Buxtehude Consort will present a concert entitled “German and Italian Cantatas of Mourning and Easter,” 8 p.m., Friday, April 1, in St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 22 East Chestnut Hill Ave.

The program features the local premiere of Johann Christian Bach’s “Lamento,” Luigi Pergolesi’s “Stabat Mater,” Francesco Provenzali’s “Dialogo a cinque voci con violini per la Passione” in its American premiere, and two works by the Consort’s namesake, Dietrich Buxtehude: “Du Friedefurst Herr Jesu Christ” in its local premiere and “Klag Lied.”

The Consort includes founder and director, baritone John Fowler, soprano Molly Quinn, mezzo Jennifer Smith, countertenor Ian Howell and tenor Steven Bradshaw. The instrumental complement includes violinists Daniel Elyar and Daniella Giulia Pierson, violists Donna Fournier and Heather Miller Lardin, cellist Katie Rietman, theorbist Kevin Payne, and St. Paul’s own music director Zach Hemenway at the organ.

“I’m really excited about the Provenzali,” Fowler said. The Neapolitan composer lived from 1624 until 1704. “It will be an American premiere in Chestnut Hill.” He continued by describing the work as an early version of the oratorio form made most famous by George Frideric Handel with “Messiah” much later in the middle of the 18th century. The Provenzali was composed in 1686 and is set in dialogue form for five singers.

Tickets are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $10 for students. Visit

West Mt. Airy mezzo-soprano Jody Kidwell will join Valentin Radu and Vox Ama Deus for a performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s monumental “Mass in B minor” 8 p.m., Friday, March 25, in the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater in center city, and 6 p.m., Sunday, March 27, in the Daylesford Roman Catholic Abbey, 228 South Valley Rd., in Paoli.

Tickets for the Perelman Theater performance are $60, $40 and $20; tickets for the Daylesford Abbey concert are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $10 for students. Call 610-688-2800 or visit