‘MUSIKAY’, and Vivaldi’s Gloria Reply

Review by Judith CaldwellreviewerJudith

On Saturday at St. John’s United Church in Oakville the newly named MUSIKAY, (previously the Oakville Ensemble), presented an evening of baroque music culminating in Vivaldi’s ‘Gloria’.  The concert began with a Sonata for trumpet in D major composed by Giuseppe Torelli in 1690.  The soloist was Jonas Feldman who told us he is a military band conductor.  For a conductor he plays a mean trumpet and was a joy to hear in this festive 17th century work.

the MUSIKAY ensemble

Musikay

  Next we were treated to the presto movement from J S Bach’s Concerto for Oboe. This work was reconstructed by musicologists from several fragments of Sinfonias.  Melissa Scott was our soloist and we heard her again later in the oboe and cello duet in the Vivaldi.
We can’t possibly have a baroque concert without a concerto for harpsichord and once again Bach composed just what we needed.  Lynne Honsberger played two movements – the largo, which was lyrical and languid with lots of flourishes on the harpsichord accompanied by plucked strings; then the very lively presto where everyone played together and it was great fun.
It looked odd to have a 20th Century composer in the company of Bach & Vivaldi, but next we had Ode to Tallis by Marjan Mozetich which was commissioned by CBC radio in 2005 to commemorate the 500th birthday of Thomas Tallis.  The first movement, sung in English, contained a lot of Tallis’ music as did the Coda, sung in French.  But the central Sanctus, sung in Latin, was very modern, complex and different and required extraordinary breath control from the singers – yet it worked.  It was as though the singers were drumming with their breath while they sang and it was riveting right through to the final glorious Alleluia.
Vivaldi’s Gloria, a joyful hymn of praise and worship, is a setting of the Roman Catholic Mass.  Apparently it was almost lost, having been forgotten among a pile of papers only to be discovered in 1920 and not performed in its original form until 1957.  I have been told part of the appeal of Vivaldi’s music for the 1950s is that it makes wonderful stereo listening at a time when that was just coming in.  The work opens with the familiar orchestral pomp and grandeur; then the chorus joins in seamlessly and sets a mood of anticipation.  There are twelve fairly brief movements ranging from a soprano and alto duet to a cello and oboe duet; a soprano solo; as well as an alto solo; plus full choral & orchestral sections.  It is a work that changes mood, colour and constantly engages the audience finally returning to the joyful, lively intro music that brings the work to a close with a lovely “Cum Sancto Spiritu in Gloria Dei Patris. Amen.”
Musikay performs on a Saturday night and repeats on the Sunday afternoon.  For dates and times of upcoming concerts go to http://www.musikay.ca or call 905-825-9740.  It is nice to see that they are attracting larger audiences as time goes on; they & their concerts are worthwhile!

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