Happy Hour Chamber Concerts

Welcome to Happy Hour Chamber Concerts. We present short programs of really good chamber music in an informal setting. All programs (60-75 minutes with no intermission) will be in the intimate and very pleasant sanctuary at Epiphany Lutheran Church, 790 South Corona Street, Denver on Fridays at 6 p.m. Light refreshments are available.

What people are saying.

"that was a wonderful concert - it seems the perfect format too. The timing was great too - we were able to go out after the concert, instead of having to rush through a dinner to make it in time"

"enjoyed reading the program notes in advance online, and not having to read while the performer was playing"

"We are sooooooo happy that the concert was such a success - we salute you ! "

"What a wonderful venue - the Cadmus Ensemble concert was fabulous !"

“there are plenty of reasons to be happy about the fledgling Happy Hour Chamber Concerts …the music is long on substance and the programs well thought out…a great option for people who want a musical warm-up before a nice dinner on the town…." Mark Rinaldi, Denver Post


In the last “News”, we promised you three concerts, with a hope for four, and can now say that we have five offerings for the 2015 – 2016 Season, our biggest yet! In addition to Corde À Vide, the fiery duo of baroque violin and keyboard, we’ve added Amanda Balestrieri and Parish House Baroque for a Valentine treat to acquaint us with aspects on Love. We’ve also added Abigail Chapman (soprano) and Peter Schimpf (plucked baroque strings) for an intimate look through song at the dynamic interweavings of Renaissance and Baroque during the pivotal first decade of the 17th Century.

You won’t hear these programs anywhere else in Denver Metro, so don’t miss out. Performer bios, programs, and details all appear on the website. Pre-performance, discounted tickets are available on the website up until concert morning. Ticket prices at the door are a bit higher. So, bring friends, come early to refresh and converse, refill your glass; then get comfortable and let the music do the rest! Be sure to check the website often for news and updates. And most importantly,

TICKETS for all remaining concerts are now available on the website.

THANK YOU for your support and for spreading the word! - See more at: http://happyhourconcerts.org

Friday, 12th February 2016, 6 p.m.

The Flowering and Fading of Love

One amazing soprano, One two-manual harpsichord, four ingenious instrumentalists on period instruments, and a flurry of fabulous Italian baroque composers (one a woman!)

Amanda Balestrieri

Parish House

Amanda Balestrieri, Soprano, with Parish House Baroque
Elisa Wicks and Terri Moon, baroque violins
Pamela Chaddon, baroque 'cello
Eric Wicks, harpsichord


Attilio Ariosti (1666-1729)
La Rosa

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704)
Annunciation Sonata (from the Rosary Sonatas)

Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)
Hor che Apollo / Che si può fare (passacaglia)

Antonio Lucio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
La Folia

Wednesday*, 23rd March 2016, 6 p.m. *** CANCELLED ***


Lorna Peters, harpsichordist
Jubal Fulks, violinist

Happy Hour Chamber Concerts is fortunate to present the Baroque duo sensation Corde à vide, an early music ensemble described widely as “fiery”. You will be introduced to some wonderful composers you don’t hear every day. It promises to be a gem.

Lorna Peters

Jubal Fulks


George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Sonata in g minor for violin and continuo HWV 364


Biagio Marini (1594-1663)
Sonata quarta “per sonar con due corde”

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704)
Passacaglia für Violine allein

Georg Muffat (1653-1704)
Sonata in D Major for violin and continuo


Giovanni Pandolfi Mealli (1630-1669)
Sonata Op. 3, No. 3, “La Melana” for violin and continuo

Program Notes

Though born in Germany, George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) spent most of his adult life in London, moving there in 1712 and becoming a naturalized British subject in 1727. Handel was born into a non-musical family, and his father was interested in having him study law. In 1702, he enrolled in law studies at the University of Halle, but the pull of music proved too strong, and after only one year at law school withdrew and accepted a position as violinist and harpsichordist with an orchestra in Hamburg. At the invitation of Ferdinando de Medici in 1706, Handel travelled to Florence, Italy. This would be an important time in his life, as the Italian style remained an influence on Handel’s work for the rest of his career. The sonata here was composed between in London between 1722-1724. Originally published in 1732 as an oboe sonata, it is in the Italian style that came to define most of Handel’s work.

Born in Brescia, Italy, Biagio Marini (1594 –1663) was widely traveled, occupying posts in such far-reaching places as Brussels, Neuberg an der Donau, Düsseldorf, and at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice with Claudio Monteverdi. His printed works were influential throughout the European musical world. While Marini wrote both instrumental and vocal music, he is better known for his innovative instrumental compositions. He contributed to the early development of violin playing by expanding the range of the solo violin and incorporating slurs and double--and even triple--stops, and was the first to write explicitly notated tremolo effects. Marini sought out novel compositional procedures, like constructing an entire sonata without a cadence (as in his aptly titled Sonata senza cadenza). The title of his Sonata quarta, “Per sonar con due corde” refers to a section of the sonata which features overlapping motives in the violin on two strings, a technique that would have been new and daring at the time. His surviving works exhibit inventiveness, lyricism, harmonic boldness, and a growing tendency toward tonality.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644 – 1704) was born in Wartenburg, Bohemia (now part of the Czech Republic). Biber’s livelihood in music was assured in 1690 when he successfully petitioned Emperor Leopold I, a member of the Habsburg family, for ennoblement. He was then awarded the station of “Lord High Steward,” which earned him a stipend, lodging, bread, wine, and firewood—a fine life indeed! The Passacaglia concludes a set of works otherwise for violin and continuo, portraying the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary, known as the “Mystery” sonatas. These pieces date from the 1670’s, when Biber was in the service of Archbishop Maximilian Gandolph von Khuenberg in Salzburg. A Passacaglia is a type of recurring bass line, much like the underlying progression of J.S. Bach’s famous Chaconne. In fact, it is likely that Bach would have been familiar with Biber’s work, and that this Passacaglia served to prepare the way for Bach’s epoch-defining work. In Biber’s version, the bass line is a simple descending four-note phrase, repeated throughout, with variations on top. This Passacaglia is one of the very first examples of solo violin music, and certainly the most virtuosic of the turn of the eighteenth century.

Georg Muffat (1653 – 1704),born in Megève in the French Alps, was of Scottish descent. After studying in Paris with Jean-Baptiste Lully between 1663 and 1669, he worked as organist in Molsheim and Sélestat, both in Alsace, France. From 1690 to his death, he was Kapellmeister to the bishop of Passau, in southeast Germany. Muffat’s sonata is very forward-looking, hinting at developments of sonata form: it is bookended by an Adagio section which gives a sense of recapitulation at the end. Between these sections, Muffat makes much use of the circle of fifths to extend melodic motives, offset by some downright startling harmonic progressions in the central slow section.

Little is known about the life of Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli (ca. 1630 – ca. 1669), except that he worked in the court of Archduke Ferdinand of Habsburg at Innsbruck, Austria. His only surviving works are twelve sonatas for violin and harpsichord, opp. 3 and 4. There are reports that Pandolfi, during his time of employment at the Cathedral of Messina, Sicily, murdered a castrato during an argument. He subsequently, and perhaps hastily, boarded a ship, eventually disembarking in Spain, where he was employed in the Royal Chapel, again by the Habsburgs, and remained until his death. Each of Pandolfi’s sonatas bears a nickname, which likely refers to the ground used for the triple-meter section at the center of each sonata. The Sonata terza, nicknamed “La Melana,” displays Pandolfi’s inventive yet transparent writing, which leaves plenty of room for the performers to interject their own invention.

*NOTE: In a rare departure, we scheduled this concert on Wednesday owing to artist availability and venue constraints during Holy Week. We hope you find that Happy Hour can be equally engaging on Wednesdays, too!

Friday, 15th April 2016, 6 p.m.

1600: Songs from the First Decade of the 17th Century

Abigail Chapman, soprano
Peter Schimpf, lute, theorbo, Baroque guitar

Abigail and Peter will take you on a thrilling journey that follows in song the route that led from the Renaissance to the Baroque: Italian influence, new styles, new instruments, and new expressivity.

Abigail Chapman

Peter Schimpf



Program Notes

In first decade of the 17th century, European art music witnessed a rich confluence of styles. For most musicians, the hallmark elements of the Renaissance musical composition continued unabated; equal-voiced textures remained a primary part of composition. But radical new experiments coming out of Italy offered a fresh approach to vocal music, utilizing improvised instrumental accompaniments that allowed solo musical lines to be more nuanced and more expressive. From 1600-1610 the Renaissance and Baroque essentially coexisted, as musicians outside of Italy began to absorb the new music. Solo songs particularly thrived in this decade. As John Dowland and his English contemporaries began to publish numerous volumes of lute songs and ayres, Giulio Caccini and his Florentine compatriots revealed their new musical experiments in publications that would have dramatic effects on the direction of European musical style. New instruments such as the theorbo and the five course “Baroque” guitar also emerged in this decade, specified in musical publications for the first time.