Saturday, March 5, 2011

Apollo's Fire: Mysteries, Sacred & Profane

Biber: Rosenkranz Sonate no. 1 in D Minor (The Annunciation)
Rosenmuller: Sonata 7 a 4 in D Minor
Bruhns: De Profundis
Biber: Fidicinium sacro-profanum Sonata XI in C Minor
Tunder: O Jesu dulcissme
Biber: Balletti lamentabili a 4 in E Minor
Kapsperger: Toccata in E Minor, from Libro terzo d'intavolatura di chitarrone
Piccinini: Corrente in E Minor
Schmelzer: Lamento sopra la morte Ferdinandi III
Bach: Wie bist du denn, o Gott
Veronika Skuplik, violin; Jeffrey Staruss, baritone; Julie Andrijeski, violin/viola; Karina Fox, viola; Rene Schiffer, cello; Andreas Arend, theobo; Peter Bennett, organ.

After spending the better part of three weeks on the road I'm back in Cleveland for at least a few days, and I'm glad to work some music into an otherwise dreary night, thanks to a friend who reminded me of this concert while I was out of town.

Flipping through the program before the concert, I was reminded of the advantages to having not only a vibrant but diverse classical music scene in Cleveland: I only recognized the name of the last composer on the program; the remaining seven were new to me and I do wonder how much play they'd get from less specialized ensembles.

The organ was, unfortunately, a significant presence in this evenings music, providing a persistent, droning, baseline that -- at least from my seat -- was a dark cloud overshadowing the remaining instruments, and turning physically tiring -- like the unending noise of an airplane's engine and this distration was particularly true of The Annunciation.

Rosenmuller's Sonata was a nice contrast and the particularly lively ending of the piece gave for an albeit temporary parting of the organ's clouds and I think, overall was my favorite piece.

In the first half of the program there was some confusion when the musicians didn't release the tension and relax at the conclusion of Biber's Fidicinium and before beginning Tunder's O Jseu dulcissime -- Had the the first not been instrumental and the second vocal, I'm not sure I would have been able to identify this as the break.

In the second half of the program, I must have allowed my attention to wander a bit too far, because I was unable to identify the transitions between the first four pieces following intermission -- but a beautiful theorbo (long-necked member of the lute family) solo somewhere along the way seized my attention, and the echos of that solo when the strings returned held it until the beginning of Bach's Wie bist du denn, o Gott -- but I have to admit that I'm not entirely sure which of the four compositions to credit that solo to.

I'm not the biggest fan of the vocal sphere of classical music, but Bach's Wie bist du denn, o Gott was quite palatable, enjoyable to listen to and easy to follow in translation.


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