I am Baroque-ified. This concert, of all the past 10 seasons of Chamber Orchestra concerts most resembles what we used to call the “Concerto Gala.” No fewer than seven soloists will regale us, and you, with swirling counterpoint and crystalline melodies from 300 years ago.
Henry Purcell’s Chacony is the eldest work on the program, dating from Newton’s time. There is no certified composition or premiere date, but “they” say that it’s from around 1680. This is a very somber ground-bass work that may remind you of his Dido’s Lament.
Vivaldi’s Concerto for Four Violins in B Minor is the gala piece on the program. New Associate Concertmaster Gordon Tsai, Principal Second violin Edward Pulgar, Ilia Steinschneider and Sean Claire are our Four Horsemen of the Appoggiatura. I’m giving away free broken bow hair to whoever can find the passage (in the last movement) that Schubert quotes in his Unfinished Symphony.
I’m just going to blurt it out here, violists Eunsoon Corliss and Katy Gawne sound amazing on the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6. When the highest instrument on a work is the viola and there are 5 other players, you know the texture is going to be real bassy and thick. It’s a deep string showcase that hits heart-wrenching sonorities you will not hear anywhere else.
But the same could be said for Bach’s Suite No. 3 in B Minor, featuring our principal flutist Ebonee Thomas. Bach knew the language of B Minor very well, and this Suite represents the book of Genesis in that key. Ms Thomas’ tempi are brisk and refreshing. Like that dash of cold water the Army recommended you end your hot shower with. And as with the Vivaldi, you get to hear the orchestra play in F# major for a while. The Badinerie that the concert ends with will leave you (and her, I dare say) breathless.