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From Celtic to Classical, L’Esperance presents a wide range of 18th, 19th and contemporary composers from Wolfgang Mozart to Georges Bizet to Percy Grainger to Michael Bell.

Mozart’s Die Zaubeflote (the Magic Flute) premiered in 1791. Based on the story of Yvain by Chretien de Troyes, one of the earliest sources for the King Arthur legends, Die Zaubeflote contains lightly veiled references to the conflicts between the Masons (of which Mozart and the lyricist, Emanuel Schikaneder were members) and the Roman Catholic Church.

Georges Bizet’s Carmen first performed in 1871, takes its story from Prosper Merimee’s novella of the same name. Bizet made extensive use of traditional Spanish melodies in his opera. Instrumental arrangements of the music from the opera have been popular since the 1880s. H.F. Odell, one of the most prolific composers from the golden era of the mandolin in America crafted this arrangement in 1905.

Australian composer Percy Grainger moved to England in 1901 and developed a fascination for the traditional music of the British Isles and created numerous sophisticated arrangements of English, Irish and Scottish folktunes. Molly on the Shore combines two Celtic melodies, Molly on the Shore and Temple Hill, with Grainger’s ingenious harmonizations.

Italian composer Francesco Barsanti moved to Scotland in 1735, where he developed a passion for traditional Scottish music (and presumably for Scottish taverns where he would have learned the tunes. His Collection of Old Scots Tunes contains Gilderoy, an old Scottish song celebrating the misadventures of Patrick MacGregor, a red haired Scottish version of Robin Hood who was executed in 1635. Gilderoy’s melody became the basis for Ralph Vaughn Williams Anglican hymn, Kingsfoil and the traditional Irish tune the Star of the County Down.

Providence-born composer and mandolinist Michael Bell, has received numerous commissions for compositions. His Strinnenia, a suite in 3 movements based on folk rhythms and melodies from Eastern Europe, celebrates the return of the birds in Spring. Uisge Beatha, is a rollicking quadruple fugue based on two of Michael’s contradance tunes, Dancing on a Skateboard and Crossing the Equinox.

Join us for a lively evening blending folk music, classical composers and the unique voices of the mandolin family. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Knapp School of Music at the Neighborhood Guild of South Kingstown Parks and Recreation.

Try Your Pluck — Free Private Mandolin Lesson at the Knapp School of Music (instruments provided)