Fortissimo, Pianissimo and “Moore” for Annisquam Series


Two unique musical concerts are planned for November at the Annisquam Village Church, both designed to introduce listeners to new ways to see and hear historical instruments this holiday season.

On a day when the clocks are turned back, one may go back farther…all the way to the Renaissance and Baroque when Kevin Birch performs on Sunday, November 6 at 3 p.m.  In addition to the resident instruments currently housed at the Village Church, Birch brings his own instrument, based on a late 18th c. clavichord of Manuel Carmo (Portuguese), illustrating the qualities that make these keyboards the “instrument of choice” for studying organ literature.

The delicate sound produced by metal tangents lifting the strings from underneath is so intimate that one leans in to hear its remarkable nuance above the clamors of modern life. Pairing this delicacy with the prodigious sounds of the “King of Instruments,” with early works that evolved into later ones, and with folk tunes that evolved into complex ones, Birch makes the case with all four of the Adams instruments:  the Great Organ, chamber organ, harpsichord, clavichord, and even ….shhh!...a “mystery instrument.”

Birch introduced them all in 2016 as part of Adams’s Cape Ann Museum exhibit  “Voicing the Woods.”  

Birch holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Iowa with previous studies at the Sweelinck Conservatory (Amsterdam) and at New England Conservatory with Yuko Hayashi, graduating with Distinction in Performance. He serves as Organist and Director of Music at St. John’s Catholic Church in Bangor, Maine, as Executive Director of St. John’s Organ Society, and as a member of the music faculty at the University of Maine School of the Performing Arts.   

This performance includes works of Frescobaldi, Dandrieu, Byrd, and Bach.  The church is well-ventilated and spacious; donations are gratefully accepted to support the music program and the care of these instruments.

Then, a “Listening Party” brings the audience to latter-day music on Sunday, November 20 at 3 p.m., featuring the church’s artist-in-residence, violinist Scott Moore. 

Commissioned to write a score for the Louisville Ballet’s “As You Like It,” Moore provides an inside look at the processes that produce such a large work.  Answering the form and gestures of Shakespeare’s beloved play, Moore’s collaborations with dance, choreography, and design result in fresh interpretations of Arden Forest, the lovely Rosalind, the pastoral surroundings and characters, and the jests of Touchstone.

Premiered in August, the ballet preceded Moore’s appointment as Concertmaster of the Cape Ann Symphony. Recordings from the rehearsals and performances enhance Moore’s chronicle.  

The concerts are free, but donations of $25 are suggested.