Thursday, November 18, 2010

Apollo's Fire: Myths of Love and Betrayal

Vivaldi: Alegro from Concerto Grosso in C, RV. 561 (Arr. Sorrell)*
Vivaldi: Due tiranni ho nel mio cor from Ottone in Villa, RV. 729
Vivaldi: Concerto in B minor for Four Volins, Op. 3 No. 10, RV. 580**
Handel: Chaconne from Terpsichore (Il Pastor Fido), HVW 8c
Handel: Che sento? Oh Dio! Se pieta di me non senti (Cleopatra's Solioquy) from Guilio Cesare in Egitto, HVW 17
Duchifree: Proserpine: Symphonie dramatique (Arr. Sorrell, World Premiere)***
Rameau: Prelude from Premier Livre de Pieces de Clavecin
Rameau: Cruelle Mere des amours (Phedre's aria) from Hippolyte et Arcie
Purcell: Dido's Lament from Dido Aeneas, Z. 626
Vivaldi: La Folia (Madness): Concerto grosso, after the Sonata, Op. 1, No. 12, RV. 63****
(Encore) Rameau: Les Indes Galantes [uncertain].
at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights.
Jeanette Sorrell, harpsicord and conductor.
*- Oliver Brault, Julie Andrijeski, Johanna Novom, violin.
** - Cynthia Roberts, Oliver Brault, Johanna Novom, Andrijeski, violin.
***- Oliver Brault, violin; Rene Schiffer, cello.
****- Cynthia Roberts, Oliver Brault, violin.

While St. Paul's Episcopal remains one of the most uncomfortable places I've heard anything -- a feeling that hasn't changed over the past year -- my tide is turning when it comes to Apollo's Fire. Though I enjoyed some more than others, the assortment of pieces arranged around the title of the program held my interest throughout.

Apollo's Fire will be taking this program on their first-ever European tour over the next 10 days, and it's another export that Cleveland can be proud of.

Likewise, Apollo's fire and Ms. Sorrell seem to be loosening up; though my initial reaction last year was of an organization that was stiff and took itself too seriously there was certainly some fun being had on and off stage at tonight's concert.

Beginning with the lively and familiar Allegro from Vivalidi's Concerto grosso in C the orchestra made a energetic statement that carried through the evening. Though Due tiranni ho nel mio cor was a bit slow for my tastes, Ms. Sophie Daneman's voice was beautifully revealed.

Frequent readers--and anyone else aware of my love of the string family -- shouldn't be surprised that the concerto for four violins was absolutely captivating and among my favorites for the evening. What I found surprising was the amazing, eerie, and almost human chorus that emerged during the allegro of this piece; it faded as quickly as my ear picked it up but I still had to look to make sure that one hadn't snuck in to the building.

Neither of the Handel pieces on the program really did anything for me, but a gentleman in the same row was quite -- almost disturbingly -- enthused by them.

Following intermission, Douchiffre's Prosperine: Symphony dramatique, composed by a member of Apollos Fire and receiving its world premiere at these concerts was an impressive excursion. Though a bit slow out of the gate, it was soulful and expressive and to that point I can't recall seeing a group of musicians so clearly enjoying the music that that was coming from their fingertips, and you could hear the passion as well.

After Prosperine the audience was treated to a rather extensive tuning session -- followed by Ms. Sorrell's assurance that there was no additional charge for tuning, and her introduction of the two Rameau pieces on the program...though neither piece ranked highly in my final assessment, Ms. Sorrell's introduction carried a comfortable relaxed but confident vibe that was a marked change from the vibe I had gotten from earlier performances and was one of the intangibles that made the concert worthy of 180 minutes in a church pew.

Closing the published program was the stunning and apply titled La Folia (Madness), Vivaldi's Concerto grosso. Seemingly out-joy-ing the enthusiasm displayed during Prosperine in addition to being musically brilliant the piece featured some interesting stage choreography in which musicians were not traditionally anchored but rather literally played off of other musicians. Also worth noting is the introduction, where the amazingly large Theorobo gave a distinct and beautiful sound that I associate with a Spanish Guitar. The enthusiasm was unanimous, but the gentleman at the end of my row was frighteningly in to the music.

There was an encore -- I didn't quite catch the title and after being introduced by Ms. Daneman with the concept that if you "do right by love, love will do right by you" and I found myself wondering what it takes to do right by love, and why it seems I'm so far from finding it.


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