GAYLORD, MN, MAY 1, 2022 — La Grande Bande’s third complete season concludes this month with activities on Friday, May 20. The fourth and final season performance, entitled Court Entertainments, will take place in Mankato at the restaurant Swiss & Madison (920 Madison Ave).
The May 20 concert continues La Grande Bande’s so-called “Dine Out” concert experience where the audience can enjoy great food while the group performs. “It’s been one of our most popular events over the past three years. We’re so thrilled to be brining it back for the first time since the pandemic,” La Grande Bande’s Music & Artistic Director, Michael Asmus, said. “The concerts in this format are really relaxed and informal—we don’t even wear the usual concert attire. Everyone can talk while we’re not performing, and we usually go around and talk with folks between pieces. It’s just a great evening together with everyone.”
Something that is really intriguing about this concert is the shift of cultural importance from one French king to the next. For composers and musicians in the Baroque era (1600-1750), patronage from aristocrats and royalty was one of the best options for success.
“In a way, the concert represents a major transitional period in French culture. By around 1710, Louis XIV was in his final years as king. Everyone would have been posturing to latch on to the successor’s wagon—in some cases of monarchical transitions, it was like betting on the winning horse. So, composers, musicians, artists, and all others needing patronage in France at that time would have been moving towards his successor Louis XV. The new king was only 5 when he took the throne, so these people were really hoping to woo his handlers and advisors,” Asmus noted.
On the docket for the performance are violin sonatas, vocal selections, and even a solo harpsichord piece, all written by French composers between 1707 and 1740, including Jean-Philippe Rameau, Elisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre, Jean-Francois Dandrieu, and Louis-Nicolas Clerambault. Like all other performances by La Grande Bande, English translations of the French texts, as well as what pieces are being performed, will be projected for this concert.
“We absolutely love using the projections because it really gives everyone the chance to understand what the singers are singing about,” noted Madeline Cacciatore, a board member for La Grande Bande. “The projections really help everyone know what’s being performed, too. It’s just something we really like doing, and something we plan to continue for the foreseeable future.”
La Grande Bande’s activities begin on May 20 at 6:30 with a pre-concert talk given by Michael Asmus. The concert begins at 7:30. Tickets are required to attend the pre-concert talk and the concert performance
Tickets for the May 20 activities are $5 in advance and $7 at the door. To order tickets, visit www.lagrandebande.org/tickets or call 507-237-6539. Reserving tickets in advance is strongly encouraged as seating capacity for this concert is strictly set.