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Classical Album of the Week: Wind and Continuo Ensemble Kleine Kammermusik's Fanfare and Filigree

Michele Corbman Photography
Kleine Kammermusik

July 8, 2019. The ensemble Kleine Kammermusik, which, translated means "a little chamber music," celebrates the fanfare and filigree of chamber music from Paris and Dresden in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in this album released in 2017.

What’s a filigree, you may ask? Merriam Webster defines it as an “ornamental work especially of fine wire of gold, silver, or copper, applied chiefly to gold and silver surfaces.” It’s an apt metaphor for the delicate, elegant side of European Baroque chamber music, which could also express lively dances and bold military fanfares.

Kleine Kammermusik is a five-member ensemble with woodwinds and continuo. This past April, they brought their oboes, recorders, bassoon, harpsichord and cello to WRTI’s Performance Studioto play selections from their repertoire, and preview concerts taking place in Philadelphia’s historic Hill-Physick House, as part of PhilaLandmarks’ Early Music Concerts.

Several of the composers whose work they performed at WRTI are represented on Kleine Kammermusik’s 2017 CD, Fanfare and Filigree. The album explores the variety of music emmanating from composers centered in Paris and Dresden, including Johann Friedrich Fasch (Dresden), Louis-Antoine Dornel (Paris) and Marin Marais (Paris).

All busy freelancers with careers playing with ensembles up and down the east coast, teaching, and participating in workshops and festivals, the musicians of Kleine Kammermusik came together in 2013, to play music written for their combination of instruments: period oboes, recorders, and bassoon with cello, viola da gamba, and harpsichord playing continuo. There was plenty of music written for them but not many ensembles today with their configuration. 

Harpichordist Leon Schelhase puts it this way: “It was clear from the beginning, this [was] fun! We like doing the same thing; we have the same tastes, we enjoy the same music. And we recognize that even in early music, there aren’t that many purely wind groups. There are amazing sounds that we don’t usually get to hear.”

Musicians of Kleine Kammermusik inlcude Geoffrey Burgess and Meg Owens, oboes and recorders; Stephanie Corwin, bassoon; Rebecca Humphrey, cello; and Leon Schelhase, harpsichord.

Check out more Classical Albums of the Week.

Susan writes and produces stories about music and the arts. She’s host and producer of WRTI’s TIME IN online interview series, and contributes weekly intermission interviews for The Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert series. She’s also been a regular host of WRTI’s Live from the Performance Studio sessions.