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Duets that usher in Valentine's Day, a Richard Goode recital and more

Welcome to Fanfare — our guide to live classical music in the Philadelphia area. Subscribe now to get Fanfare delivered right to your inbox every Sunday.

Spotlight: Pre-Valentine’s Day Duets 

The composers of the late Renaissance and early Baroque were particularly attuned to matters of the heart. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, two duo recitals based on 17th- and 18th-century songs of love and loss will deliver — to borrow from 21st century parlance — all the feels.

Cruel Amaryllis, Tempesta di Mare’s first concert of 2024, features tenors James Reese and Jacob Perry, both acclaimed for their smoldering voices and interpretive insights. Backed by three theorbo players, including the ensemble’s co-founder and co-director Richard Stone, this program of Italian madrigals “celebrating our powerlessness against Cupid,” promises peak poignancy.

Replenish your supply of tissues and return to the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill on Saturday to hear sopranos Jessica Beebe and Rebecca Myers of Variant 6 in Haute Voix, an equally emotive exploration of repertoire by Couperin, Carissimi, and Purcell. Accompanied by harpsichordist Leon Schelhase and viola da gamba player Sarah Cunningham, the pair will probe themes of “faith and philosophy” in soaring counterpoint.

Tempesta di Mare on Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, and Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce Street, $35 to $45; tickets and information

Variant 6 on Feb. 2 at 7 p.m., The Hill-Physick House, 321 South 4th Street, Feb. 3 at 7:30 p.m., Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, and Feb. 4 at 3 p.m., Jaharis Recital Hall at Haverford College, 370 Lancaster Avenue, $10 to $25; tickets and information.

Nate’s World — Wednesday at the Curtis Institute

The Nate in question is Nathan Farrington, the principal bassist of the LA Opera Orchestra, and his world spans an unpredictably delightful mix of genres, ranging from “classical to country and everything in between.” Joined by fellow Curtis Institute alumni Teddy Abrams — pianist, clarinetist, composer, and the music director of the Louisville Orchestra — and percussionist and composer Gabriel Globus-Hoenich, Farrington’s merry band of musical multi-hyphenates romps through an “adventurous safari” of intimate, yet epic proportions.

Jan. 31 at 7:30 p.m., Field Concert Hall at Curtis Institute of Music, 1726 Locust Street, $32; tickets and information

JACK Quartet

Beautiful Trouble — Friday at Penn Live Arts

The JACK Quartet’s fearless forays into the world of extended string technique has firmly ensconced the New York City-based group on the cutting edge of the new music scene. Beautiful Trouble, a collaboration with composer and Penn professor Natacha Diels, pushes their boundaries even further by venturing into the realm of the visual. Conceived as a six-part video mini-series, the premiere of this multimedia composition interrogating “the oversaturation of our current era” and “social impact of ubiquitous cameras,” will be must-see TV for those interested in the nexus of art, music, and politics.

Feb. 2 at 8 p.m., Harold Prince Theatre, Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, 3680 Walnut Street, $42, tickets and information.

Richard Goode

Richard Goode — Friday at Perelman Theater

Frédéric Chopin described Bach as “an astronomer discovering the most marvelous stars.” In his annual appearance with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, pianist Richard Goode aims for the musical heavens with a recital bookended by two works of constellatory brilliance: Bach’s Partita No. 2 and Chopin’s Sonata No. 3.

Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Perelman Theater, Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 South Broad Street, sold out, but join the waiting list by calling 215-569-8080 or emailing boxoffice@pcmsconcerts.org; more information.

Vivaldi and Mozart — Friday and Feb. 4 at Verizon Hall

The Philadelphia Orchestra celebrates David Kim’s 25th year as concertmaster by showcasing his dynamism in juxtaposing violin masterpieces: Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and Astor Piazzolla’s tango-inflected The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Guest conductor Xian Zhang, now in her eighth season as the music director of the New Jersey Symphony, also leads the Orchestra in Mozart’s majestic Symphony No. 39.

Feb. 2 and 4 at 2 p.m. Verizon Hall, Ensemble Arts Philly, 300 South Broad Street, $48 to $199, tickets and information.

Zev is thrilled to be WRTI’s classical program director, where he hopes to steward and grow the station’s tremendous legacy on the airwaves of Greater Philadelphia.