St. Martin’s Church alive with music 

By Michael Caruso
Posted 6/11/24

The Fairmount String Quartet filled the Episcopal Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields sanctuary with music.

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St. Martin’s Church alive with music 


The Fairmount String Quartet filled the Episcopal Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields sanctuary with music, performing a recital entitled  “Art in Translation” in their role as the congregation’s artists-in-residence.

The concert, performed May 18, featured the Quartet’s violinists Rachel Segal & Leah Kyoungwoon-Kim-Tomilson, violist Beth Dzwell and cellist Mimi Morris-Kim. The recital, which was also performed May 19 at the Willow Grove Branch of Settlement Music School, included a program spotlighting  Lou Harrison’s “String Quartet Set: Variations on a Song by Walter Von der Vogelweide, Soo Yeon Lyuh’s “Yessori (Sound from the Past), and Maurice Ravel’s String Quartet in F.

For a June 5 recital, the Fairmount Quartet performed a program called “A Day in the Life.” Violist Dzwell described it as a mix of classical and pop music to close the Church’s summer concert series. The indoor concert featured music by Haydn and Mozart, Ellen Fishman, Addison Rider, George & Ira Gershwin, the Beatles, Bruno Mars and more. A meet-the-artists reception followed the recital.

Ticket proceeds benefited the St. Martin’s Art and Music Fund. For more information, email

Album Release Celebration

The baroque period instruments ensemble, Filament, celebrated the release of its new album, “Alchemy of Another,” will a recital Friday evening, May 24, in the Fleisher Art Memorial in the Bella Vista neighborhood of South Philadelphia. The trio was joined by colleagues, both vocal and instrumental, to perform two works each by Dieterich Buxtehude (1637-1707) and Johann Christoph Bach (1642-1703).

Filament’s “local connection” is John Walthausen, the organist and director of music at the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown, here heard on harpsichord. Violinist Evan Few and violist da gamba Elena Kauffman fill out the roster of the group’s core players. They were joined by soprano Clara Rottsalk, mezzo Meg Bragle, tenor Jacob Perry, baritone Christopher Talbot, gamba players Donna Fournier and Arnie Tanimoto, and violone player Jessica Powel Eig.

The addition of the seven associated musicians permitted Filament to balance the program between a recital – during which the three core members each played a solo line – and a concert – in which the expanded ensemble proffered a fuller, ensemble complement.

The two works that featured the heart of Filament were two Trio Sonatas, in C minor and G major, by Buxtehude, the major German/Danish composer of the generation prior to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The sweet sounds of the gut-strung violin and viola da gamba flawlessly blended with each other in the style of an intimate vocal duet sensitively supported by the transparent textures and rhythms of the aristocratic harpsichord. Few and Kauffman played with exquisite lyricism while Walthausen provided an effortless flow of clear-toned harmonies.

J.C. Bach was one of J.S. Bach’s extended family of musical relatives – an uncle, in this case. His “Aria: Lamento: Ach, das ich Wassers genug hatte” and “Cantata: Meine Freundin, du bist schon” display contrasting gifts of emotional delineation. The former projects deeply religious penitence while the latter offers up unabashed passion. Bragle was the soloist in the first, and sang with a burnished, dark alto tone. Rottsolk, Bragle, Perry and Talbot shared their exuberance with the audience of more than a hundred music lovers to the delight of everyone. 

Filament’s new album, “Alchemy of Another,” features performances of all the Opus 1 Trio Sonatas of Buxtehude. It is available on the Bridge Records label. And a reminder: Walthausen will conduct the Oratorio Choir of the First Presbyterian Church in Germantown and an ensemble of period instrumentalists in a performance of J.S. Bach’s “Magnificat” Sunday, June 9, at 3 p.m. The Church is located at 35 West Chelten Ave. in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. For more information visit

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