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Art & Music of the Baroque: Athenaeum to host special spring concert series

Violinist Victoria Martino will present a series of distinctive concerts in March at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St.

At 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 6, Martino and pianist James Lent will perform “Johannes Brahms: The Complete Works for Violin and Piano,” including the three canonical sonatas in G major, A major, and D minor, the fiery C-minor Scherzo from the “F-A-E” Sonata, and the composer’s rarely heard transcriptions of the two clarinet/viola sonatas in F minor and E-flat major.

Tickets: $30 for members; $35 nonmembers at ljathenaeum.org/specialconcerts.html

Additionally, on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. March 17, 24, 31 and April 7 and 14, Martino will host a five-week lecture/concert series with the Musica Pro Arte Ensemble titled “Art and Music of the Baroque: From Ecstasy to Enlightenment.” The concerts are themed as follows:

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■ March 17: 1580-1620 in Italy, Germany and the Netherlands

Painters, Michelangelo da Caravaggio, the brothers Caracci, and Peter Paul Rubens, found their musical counterparts in the composers, Claudio Monteverdi, Giulio Caccini and Heinrich Schütz.

■ March 24: 1600-1700 in Italy

The art of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Guido Reni and Pietro da Cortona was matched by the music of Claudio Monteverdi, Dario Castello, Girolamo Frescobaldi and others.

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■ March 31: 1600-1660 in Holland

Rembrandt represents the rise of the individual in an environment dominated by religious fervor. His countryman, the blind organist Jakob van Eyck absorbed the popular music of England and the European continent, transforming simple melodies into complex and elaborate sets of variations.

■ April 7: 1650-1700 in France and Germany

The 17th century marked the ascendancy of France under the reign of Louis XIII and Louis XIV, becoming the dominant cultural force in Europe. At the same time, the German Empire gained new strength through conquests in Eastern Europe. French artists such as Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain were paralleled by composers Denis Gaultier and Louis Couperin. Jean-Baptiste Lully was a great innovator in the realms of opera and ballet. In Vienna, international composers like Marc Antonio Cesti and Jakob Froberger were active in the court. In the North, the Protestant Church rose to prominence, producing composers such as Dietrich Buxtehude.

■ April 14: 1680-1750 in Europe

The works of painters, Johann Quirin Asam, Antoine Watteau, Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, reflected in visual terms the musical discoveries of Georg Friedrich Händel, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jean-Philippe Rameau, Domenico Scarlatti, and Antonio Vivaldi. Through the arts, one could experience the new self-assured image of humanity arising from the previous century, and creating the foundation for the coming Enlightenment.