On the Road: “Concerto alla Veneziana” in Baltimore, MD

“The first nice thing was the turnout. It was encouraging to see so many folks on hand in Towson University’s large concert hall. (Pro Musica usually holds forth in the center’s more intimate venue.) The second nice thing was having Philadelphia’s excellent Tempesta di Mare participate on this occasion with Pro Music Rara members, which resulted in a hefty sound and some hot music-making. Highlights included Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, with a finale at a presto speed that found the players maintaining admirable transparency and producing a good deal of color. A similar application of zip and expressive bite characterized the G minor Concerto da chiesa by Johann Georg Pisendel, one of the many gifted baroque composers who have been largely obscured by Bach and other other big guys. Violinist Emlyn Ngai gave a terrific account of the solo part in that piece, his tone sure and his phrasing animated by dynamic nuance. The afternoon also featured stylish solo contributions from Gwyn Roberts (recorder) and Stephen Bard (oboe). Throughout the concert, lutenist Richard Stone and harpsichordist Adam Pearl provided supple support. Given Tempesta di Mare’s Baltimore connections—Roberts and Stone teach at Peabody, for example—it would be cool if the group could team up with Pro Musica for a program each season.” Baltimore Sun, January, 2010.

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