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Ensemble brings baroque revelations to Morinville stage

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 06:00 am

LA FOLIA – Cellist Josephine van Lier will lead the string ensemble La Folia during a presentation of 17th and 18th century baroque music in Morinville this Saturday.
LA FOLIA – Cellist Josephine van Lier will lead the string ensemble La Folia during a presentation of 17th and 18th century baroque music in Morinville this Saturday.
Supplied photo

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La Folia
Saturday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Morinville Community Cultural Centre
9502 – 100 Ave.
Tickets: $20/adults, $15/seniors, $10/students. Call 780-420-1757 or purchase online at or in person

For the first time ever, Morinville audiences will have the opportunity to experience early music performed by one of Edmonton’s leading ensembles.

Led by renowned classical cellist Josephine van Lier, Edmonton’s reigning authority on early music, La Folia will perform at the Morinville Community Cultural Centre on Saturday, May 31.

The string ensemble will interpret an ambitious repertoire that includes four Baroque jewels composed by Arcangello Corelli, George Frideric Handel, Johann Sebastian Bach and Pietro Locatelli.

Baroque music in loose terms is a style of music from the 17th and 18th centuries that is very lush and heavily ornamented.

La Folia champions early music written and performed prior to 1850, said van Lier. She founded the ensemble nearly two years ago with the intent of adapting practices and aesthetics from former ages.

Using only period instruments or replicas and original scores, they seek to preserve the musical integrity of ancient masterpieces.

“We play using original manuscripts or original sources and we use period instruments with gut strings as they were made at that time,” van Lier said. She added that the instruments of choice are cello, violin, viola and harpsichord.

“Since the 1960s the approach to music of the time has been to look at original manuscripts instead of heavily edited manuscripts. The music makes so much more sense when you look at what equipment they had on hand. Gut strings were thicker and moved slower. When you strike the bow, it takes more time before it vibrates. In a modern steel string it responds more quickly. You have to change what you do.”

Close to 11 semi-professional musicians collaborate to deliver concerts with skill and sensitivity. In the two years since La Folia’s inception, their talents have deepened with greater clarity of tone and colour.

“We have a neurosurgeon, a dentist, an engineer and an IT specialist,” said van Lier, adding that St. Albert resident Laurie Stalker, and Morinville’s cultural services manager, is one of La Folia’s cellists.

“These are all people that share a hobby in daily life otherwise they have little in common. But in this they share and create a bond and are excited to play together.”

Although the ensemble rehearses at Strathcona’s Holy Trinity Church, they are dedicated community builders travelling to outlying areas when invited.

Ultimately van Lier’s goal is revelation. Just as modern visual artists have restored the frescoes of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, so La Folia re-imagines the original beauty of ancient masterpieces in a fresh and inspiring way.

Van Lier is also providing a talk prior to the concert explaining the instruments and during the concert she will discuss historical context for each composition.

La Folia’s recordings are available on


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