baroque music

Hell came to us first

In late October, Sonoma County, home to the Alphabet Baroque Club, was burning. Due to a high wind event, Public Safety Power Outages, and the Kincaid Fire much of where the Alphabet Baroque Club lives was under mandatory evacuation orders. The image above shows the fire, but especially shows how the wind was blowing the fire closer and closer to the towns of Healdsburg, Windsor, Geyserville, and Santa Rosa. Had it hopped the 101 freeway it could have burnt all the way to the coast, perhaps taking towns such as Sebastopol, Freestone, and Occidental with it.

We are so very grateful it did not hop the 101! However, we had to cancel our October 27 concert at the wonderful Iota Printworks in Sebastopol. Thankfully, we have been able to reschedule for January 25, 4 pm, at the Iota Press Printworks once again! Thank you so much, Eric Johnson, for working with us.

This event did make me wonder if we wanted to bring our audiences with us to hell….

The good news is, we will never quite get there! Come hear our concert, and find out!


ABC On the Road to Hell!

This year the Alphabet Baroque Club is On the Road to Hell! Our composers were on the road as well! Many baroque composers traveled extensively for learning and employment. Johann Kusser started life in Bratislava, traveled to Stuttgart, on to Paris for a good while, back to Germany, and then to Dublin, Ireland for his final years. Our Spanish composers traveled to Italy and Peru, Irish composers to England, and Henry Madin’s parents were part of the “Wild Geese” who left Ireland, in this case to France. Italians stayed in Italy, traveling between the individual Italian kingdoms and principalities.

Our travels start with heavenly Marian music from the medieval Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, on to Italy for Ignatio Donati’s “Porta Caeli”, and crossing an ocean to Mexico for Juana Ines de la Cruz’s “Madre, de los primores”. As we descend to earth we have French/Irish Henry Madin’s “Domine salvum fac” (God save the King), a traditional ending to a French royal Mass.

While on earth we dance some dances; a Pavan by Irish harper to the Elizabethan court Cormac Mac Dermott, a saraband titled “L’Espagnol”, and a forlane titled “L’Anglois” by Johann Kusser. Then we play two love songs, “Cantarico” by Tomas Torrejon y Velasco and “Si n’os huviera” by Cristobal de Morales. And finally we praise the new Spanish King Felipe in an arrangement of the dedicatory prologue from “La purpura de la rose” by Tomas Torrejon y Velasco.

And now we get to some more infernal music, starting with a demonic flight and infernal dance by Kusser, two pieces, “Io pur respiro” and a Gagliarda, by the tormented Carlo Gesualdo with his signature twisted harmonies, excerpts from L’Orfeo by Monteverdi, and a battle between Barabas and Satan, “Batalla de Barabaso yerno de Satanas”, by Andrea Falconieri. And, to end, the charming “Ciaccona di paradiso, e d’Inferno”, which describes in alternating verses, or characterizations, the delights of heaven and the torments of hell.

We hope to see you cheering us along on our Infernal Journey!



We ended our Coffee and Donuts year with a delightful house concert near Yorkville, CA. By this time we had eaten all the donuts, and were mainly serving coffee with music. We had a splendid response to all these coffee concerts. Indeed, our contact Peter Brodigan, who arranged this concert, wrote us after:

I wanted to thank you again for a top-notch concert this afternoon.  Your playing was so nicely in sync, and you clearly have a great sense of ensemble with each other.  The individual solos were all so excellently played, and had a variety to them, so each one stood out on its own.  The speaking was just right – the right amount of detail, playfulness and information.  The choice of pieces managed a balance of serious, beautiful, virtuoso, small and large group.

The audience loved it, and I appreciated your generosity in bringing the program to our friends in Yorkville.  I heard nothing but accolades for the program.”

Thank you to everyone who hosted us this year, and thanks to our wonderful audiences. We are taking a few moments to clear our minds, and then time to plan a new program!