‘Breathtaking’ — Music From Land’s End hits all the right notes

Aug 1, 2023

Tales of tragedy at the hands of the Roman Empire and conversations with songbirds made for a moving line up in the Music From Land’s End concert held at the Church of the Good Shepherd Sunday, July 30.

Music From Land’s End is an annual summer concert series sponsored by the Wareham Cultural Council.

Violinists Ariadne Daskalakis and Jesse Irons, along with Cellist Beiliang Zhu, Violist Sebastian Gottschick and Harpsichordist Aruthur Haas, opened Antonio Vivaldi’s aria "Gelido in ogni vena" from the opera "Farnace” for Soprano Sherezade Panthaki.

As the first few notes of the string instruments play, audience members are eerily reminded of the beginning of Vivaldi’s “Winter” from the “Four Season.”

“Cold in every vein / I feel the blood flowing, / The shadow of the lifeless son I am cluttered with terror. And for my greater pain / I see I was cruel / To an innocent soul,

/ At the heart of my heart,” Panthaki sang the German words, while revealing the grief and heartbreak of King Farnace.

Even without Vivaldi’s subtle nod to the season of death, Farnace’s loss is apparent. 

Daskalakis, who along with performing also directs the concert series, shared the story of a king who, when defeated by the Roman Empire, ordered his wife to kill herself and their child in fear of being captured by the enemy.

This song concluded the first half of the program and when the final notes of the song rang out, a brief silence filled the room. 

One word was heard among the crowd: “Breathtaking,” Lucy Aptekar said.

A loud applause erupted from the crowd that led to a standing ovation.

Aptekar said she and her husband, Jerry Leader, have been residents of Wareham for decades and never miss an opportunity to see Music From Land’s End.

“The quality of the music performance is so exceptional,” she said. “They're a highlight of the summer for us.”

She added, “To have that music fill the chapel — it speaks to my soul.”

Leader said, “Each time [we’re] rewarded with an even higher performance than the previous one.”

Wareham residents Kim and Steve McGarry said this was their first time attending a performance from this concert series.

Kim said, “I'm blown away and it's just unbelievable. The sound is just so beautiful I have goosebumps.”

Steve said, “I feel very blessed they have come here.”

Following a short intermission, the second half of the program began, which included three songs on poems by John Milton composed by Gottschick. The collective is titled, “Melodious Noise.”

The final song of the program, was “Sweet Bird” by George Frideric Handel from “L’Allehro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato,” which is also based on Milton’s poetry.

This performance featured Panthaki and Flutist Emi Ferguson in conversation, with the flute mimicking the sounds of a songbird.

Tim Watson, who is a guitarist himself and resident of New York, said, “It is very, very beautiful.”

He added, “It's really high quality music and it would be very high quality music anywhere.”

Cellist Zhu said this was her first year performing with Music From Land’s End, but she has known some of the members for a few years.

“It's been great,” Zhu said. “The people here are so nice, and it's such a beautiful town.”

She added, “I really love the community feeling in this place, and just really appreciate the turnout and how involved the audience is.”

Panthaki said it is also her first year in the concert series.

“It's been marvelous,” she said. “It's been absolutely a delight to be with such wonderful musicians, but also to be in this area.”

She added, “There's something just magical about being in Wareham and Marion.”

“I think it's such a special festival to have in the summer for everybody who's here to enjoy beautiful music in a really intimate setting — be really up close with the musicians and experience the music,” Panthaki said.