Hammer Baroque showcases a quintet to interpret Vivaldi Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
Dominic Teresi is principal bassoon of Tafelmusik and teaches at The Juilliard School.  Stefano Demicheli is a composer,. In keeping with Hammer Baroque traditions, five extraordinary musicians offered a concert titled Soprattutto Vivaldi on Saturday afternoon.   Oboeist Marco Cera, trained in Italy and was lured over to Toronto by Tafelmusik.  He is also a member of the Artic fusion band, Ensemble Polaris.  Alison Melville performs on historic flutes and recorders. She is also a member of Ensemble Polaris, who has performed a lot of music for film & TV soundtracks.  Violinist Cristina Zacharias, is a core member of Tafelmusik and appears annually at the Carmel Bach Festival.

The performers of Hammer Baroque’s VIVALDI

 She is also a member of Ensemble Polaris, who has performed a lot of music for film & TV soundtracks.  Violinist Cristina Zacharias, is a core member of Tafelmusik and appears annually at the Carmel Bach Festival.An Italian, she is an organist plus harpsichordist, currently visiting courtesy of her country’s consulate.
These five offered and afternoon of ‘glittering and fiery chamber music’ of Vivaldi, Telemann and J.F. Fasch.  Sonata in Bb major by Fasch opened the concert and set the tone for the beautiful blend of the five instruments.  Fasch was a German composer who wrote
numerous works for the bassoon.  He was much admired by his contemporary J.S.Bach.  His Sonata in four movements began with a stately Largo, followed by a lively Allegro and a wonderfully dramatic and somber Grave, featuring the bassoon and harpsichord,  before returning to another cheery Allegro.   Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor showed that R & B for Vivaldi meant recorder and bassoon, giving them lots of interplay supported by the other instruments in a very lively and complex piece which showed off the famous propensity for Vivaldi to sound wonderful in stereo.  In the introduction to the next Vivaldi Quartet in C major Melville informed us that he wrote a ‘fury of prodigious compositions’ and that he was the victim of fashion in that last years’ music no longer earns money!
The second movement of this Quartet sounded very like some later Haydn compositions.  Another German composer who was incredibly prolific and popular in his lifetime was G.P. Telemann whose Quartetto in G major was performed as a quintet and sounded very similar to the Vivaldi which had preceded it.  The final piece, another Vivaldi, was preceded by a letter written by Vivaldi saying he is too ill to travel outside his home and ‘all which I do well, I do at home’ and another letter from someone who had heard him play the violin and had found his playing to be incredible and virtuosic rather than enjoyable.  The final Concerto in G minor was marvellous, difficult, complex and masterfully played.
Certainly worth the standing ovation it elicited.  A fun encore by a ‘secret composer’ who wrote his own version of four seasons completed the program.    Go to www.HammerBaroque.com for future concerts.

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