The Grand Tour: A Journey Through Baroque Europe

Ars Musica Chicago

Kiyoe Matsuura, baroque violin

Cora Swenson Lee, baroque cello

Jason J. Moy, harpsichord and Artistic Director


July 27, 2021

Rush Hour Concerts

Robbie Ellis, pre-concert talk host


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber – Sonata Representativa a Violino Solo (9′)

Isabella Leonarda – Sonata a Violino Solo, Op. 16 No. 12 (9′)

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier – Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 50 No. 1 (10′)

I. Andante

II. Allemanda: Allegro

III. Aria

IV. Gavotte: Presto

George Frideric Handel – Violin Sonata in D Major, HWV 371 (12′)

I. Affettuoso

II. Allegro

III. Larghetto

IV. Allegro

Kiyoe Matsuura is a Chicago-based violinist and violist. Her enthusiasm for historical performance began while pursuing her Master’s degree at DePaul’s School of Music and continued with further studies at Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, American Bach Soloists Academy, Amherst Early Music Festival, and Juilliard at the Piccola Accademia. In addition to performing with several of the Midwest’s finest baroque ensembles, Kiyoe’s ongoing collaboration with harpsichordist Sun Chang explores lesser-known works and women composers of the Baroque era. Kiyoe is a co-founder of the MENT Consort, which was selected as a Pegasus Rising Young Artist group in 2016. She is on faculty at the DePaul Community Music Division and maintains a large private violin studio of students of all ages. 


Cora Swenson Lee is a cellist and baroque cellist who performs actively around the United States. She holds a Doctorate of Music and Bachelors Degree in Cello Performance with highest distinction from the Eastman School of Music, and a Masters Degree in Cello Performance from Boston University College of Fine Arts. Dr. Swenson Lee is currently Instructional Assistant Professor of Cello at Illinois State University, adjunct Professor of Cello at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of the Eastman Cello Institute. She was awarded first prize in Instrumental Performance (professional division) of the 2019-20 American Prize, and her early music ensemble, Trio Speranza, won the Presentation Prize at Early Music America’s Baroque Performance Competition in 2014.


Jason J. Moy is the Artistic Director of Ars Musica Chicago, and inaugural recipient of the Monsignor Kenneth J. Velo Endowed Distinguished Professorship at DePaul University’s School of Music, where he is Director of the Baroque Ensemble, Coordinator of Mixed Chamber Music, and harpsichord instructor. Jason is a founding member of the award-winning period instrument ensemble Trio Speranza, and one of the most sought-after early keyboard specialists in the Midwest. He frequently appears with such esteemed ensembles as the Bach Week Festival Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra, and Chicago Chamber Musicians. 


Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber (1644-1704)

Sonata Representativa a Violino Solo (1699) (9′)

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber was born in Wartenberg, Bohemia (in what is now the Czech Republic), and held the coveted position of Kapellmeister to the Archbishop of Salzburg at the height of his career. Widely considered the first violin ‘rock star’, Biber’s virtuosity pushed the instrument’s capabilities to new limits, using multiple stops and other extended techniques to create effects not normally possible on the violin. Today, Biber is most famous for his fifteen “Mystery Sonatas” for scordatura violin, and the Sonata Representativa, which incorporates various rhythms and effects described in Athanasius Kircher’s Musurgia Universalis to represent the sounds of animals. Listen for the song of the Nightingale, the trademark call of the Cuckoo, the croak of a Frog, the cluck of the Hen and crow of the Rooster, the distinctive chirp of the Quail, the meow of a Cat, and the cello’s imitation of a side drum in the Musketeer’s March.

Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704)

Sonata a Violino Solo, Op. 16 No. 12 (1683) (9′) 

Isabella Leonarda was an Ursuline nun and one of the most prolific 17th century Italian composers. At age 16, Leonarda entered the Collegio di Sant’Orsola in her native Novara, where she served as a music teacher and high-ranking administrator throughout the rest of her life. Her compositions included works in nearly every extant sacred genre, which, in her own words, were written not for worldly fame but so that all would know of her steadfast devotion to the Virgin Mary. This Sonata Duodecima comes from her Opus 16—the first collection of instrumental pieces published by a woman—and is the only sonata of the twelve scored for solo violin. It exemplifies the Stylus Phantasticus (fantastical style) popularized by 17th Italian composers, with its seamless transitions from section to section, in contrast to the distinct movements of the 18th century sonatas heard later on this program.

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier (1689-1755)

Cello Sonata in E minor, Op. 50 No. 1 (1734) (10′)

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier’s great musical and financial success came in part from simply being in the right place at the right time. Early 18th century Europe saw the rise of a new bourgeois middle class whose voracious appetite for printed music Boismortier gleefully satisfied with hundreds of sonatas, concertos, and other works. Instead of relying on aristocratic patronage, as generations of composers before him had done, Boismortier obtained a royal privilege to publish his own music, and became immensely wealthy, in contrast to many musicians then and now. He was one of the first French composers to write exclusively in the fashionable Italian style, catering to his consumer base with works in the style of Vivaldi and Corelli, like this E Minor Cello Sonata, Op. 50 No. 1.

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Violin Sonata in D Major, HWV 371 (1732) (12′) 

George Frideric Handel is certainly more well known today for his large-scale orchestral and choral masterpieces like Water Music and Messiah, but he also wrote a substantial number of chamber sonatas for flute, oboe, and violin. One of Handel’s last such works, his Violin Sonata in D Major, HWV 371, was never published in his lifetime and survives only in manuscript form. Its four-movement format follows the Italian sonata model popularized by Corelli. Never one to waste a good tune, Handel recycled the fast movements in two of his sacred oratorios: the fugal Allegro appears as the chorus opening Act II of Solomon, while the closing movement is re-used as a Sinfonia in Act III of Jephtha.  


Program Notes by Jason J. Moy


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The Rush Hour Concerts series is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Rush Hour Concerts are produced in partnership with St. James Cathedral and WFMT.

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Tuesday August 3, 5:45pm

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