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The Whole Noyse to Perform with Magnificat

The Whole Noyse - Stephen Escher, Sanford Stadtfeld, Richard Van HesselIt is a pleasure to be working together again with The Whole Noyse in Magnificat’s performances of Monteverdi’s 1610 Vespers. In numerous collaborations over the past two decades, I have been consistently impressed with their musicianship and impeccable ensemble playing and Steve, Richard, Sandy and Herb have all become dear friends and trusted musical colleagues. The Whole Noyse will be joined by cornettist Kiri Tollaksen and frequent collaborator trombonist Ernie Rideout in our Vespers performances.

The Whole Noyse has collaborated with Magnificat from our very first season in 1992, when they joined for a series of memorable performances of Schütz’ Weihnachtshistorie, co-presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society. In 1994, they joined in our staged production of Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo, which we subsequently recorded for Koch International. No one who was present will forget the infamous Halloween recording session that stretched into the wee hours of the morning at St. Vincent’s in Marinwood! Later in 1994, we first performed Monteverdi’s Vespers, which were co-presented by SFEMS and the Sonoma Bach Society. We would perform the Vespers again together in 1999.

The Whole Noyse collaborated on two projects with Magnificat in 1995 – Schütz’ Auferstehunghistorie and a magnificent Gabrieli Mass. They joined in Magnificat’s appearance at the 1996 Berkeley Festival in a recreation of a Dresden Mass built around Schütz’ Musikalische Exequien. We performed Schütz’ Weinachthistorie together again in 2001 and Auferstehungshistorie again in 2005. Steve played in our recreation of a Nahuatl Epiphany play in 1999 and both Steve and Herb played in our 2000 performances of Frescobaldi’s Missa sopra la Monaca. Steve and Richard also played in Magnificat’s performances of selections from Schütz’ Symphoniæ Sacræ I in 2004. Most recently, The Whole Noyse were part of Magnificat’s 2007 recreation of the 1607 re-dedication of St. Gertude’s church in Hamburg, a program that featured music by Hieronymus Praetorius.

The Whole Noyse performs on modern reproductions of 16th century instruments. Stephen Escher plays curved cornetts; Richard Van Hessel and Sandy Stadtfeld play sackbuts; and Herbert Myers plays the curtal, ancestor of the bassoon. The Whole Noyse derives its name from a musical term dating from medieval England, when a group of loud wind instruments was called a “noise.” Later, the word came to refer to sets of wind instruments in general: in 1584, an English town band called the Norwich Waits considered a set of five instruments as “beeying a Whoall noyse.”

The Whole Noyse had its first concert together in 1986. The group, based in the San Francisco area, plays brass and wind music from 16th and 17th century Europe. Performances by The Whole Noyse both in Europe and North America have been enthusiastically received. Their recordings include “Lo Splendore d’Italia” and collaborations with various ensembles of music by Bach and Praetorius, as well as early Italian opera and 17th century Italian sacred music.

In 1990, The Whole Noyse made its European debut, with concerts in the Regensburg Festival in Germany and at the Vigado in Budapest. From a review in the Mittelbayrische Zeitung (6/4/90), “…the cornetts played with outstanding control of their instruments” and “…the Americans played with a supple and balanced sound texture by which they achieved a wonderfully transparent polyphony.”

The Whole Noyse performs often with Baroque orchestras and has countless collaborations with west coast choirs and early music ensembles. The Whole Noyse performed at the 1995 Historic Brass Society Symposium in Amherst, Massachusetts. The ensemble is an affiliate of the San Francisco Early Music Society. The California Arts Council has been awarded The Whole Noyse a fourth prestigious grant for touring in California, covering a period of eight years.

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