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Beautiful Baroque Music To Fill, And Thrill, An Age-Old Setting

Keith Womer
Keith Womer and James Brown

A pair of musicians is coming to San Antonio, and the music they create will probably sound different from anything you’d expect. They’re part of an Austin ensemble called La Follia Austin Baroque

“La Folla is a period music group, and what that means is that we perform music, mostly of the early baroque and early classical period, and we use instruments that were used at the time," explains the group's director, Keith Womer. "It might be a surprise to some listeners that really almost all the instruments, including the strings, were significantly different than they are now.”

He and partner James Brown are bringing a harpsichord and a gamba to San Antonio, to make sounds he describes as “wonderful music!”

But in the late 1700s, those instruments were at a critical crossroads — they were about to be nearly abandoned by musicians.

“This music that we’re going to perform could really be called their swan song. By 1800, both the instruments are gone.”

The reason why the gamba and the harpsichord fell out of favor was because they didn’t have this one ability.

“The ability to play both loud, and soft.”

Womer and Brown are coming to San Antonio for a performance on November 21, 7 p.m., at Mission Concepcion.

I asked him if playing period music on ancient instruments in a place like Mission Concepcion — "is that a euphoric experience?"

“Yeah, it all comes together, doesn’t it? And it gives us insight in today’s world,  where everyone has different sensibilities.”

We’ve more on La Follia Austin Baroque here.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii