'From Popular Songs to Art Songs' concert at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea

The Herald News, Posted May. 21, 2015 at 12:21 PM

LITTLE COMPTON, R.I. — On Saturday, June 13 at 6:30 at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, mezzo-soprano Allison Messier and harpsichordist Paul Cienniwa will collaborate on a program that elevates many of today’s folk and pop classics to the art songs of the Elizabethan era. From Popular Songs to Art Songs will feature music of singer/songwriters Harry Chapin, Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, John Lennon, Joni Mitchell, Cat Stevens and Neil Young interspersed with 17th century hits by baroque icons like John Dowland and Henry Purcell. This family-friendly concert will keep you humming your favorite tunes while also introducing some new “old” music.
“When we started working on this program,” Messier said, “we, as classically trained musicians, were intimidated by taking on such popular music. It’s much easier for us to recreate music of earlier times than it is for us to take on people like Joni Mitchell and Cat Stevens.”
Cienniwa adds, “When we finally got together to rehearse, however, two things became apparent. First, the words of the songs, as sung by Allison, took on entirely new meanings. Second, the harpsichord added a tonal color to the music that was unexpected, unique, and very cool.”

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