Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Conservatory Baroque Ensemble

This past Saturday evening there were probably too many choices for things to do in the City: The Chinese New Year's Parade, the last performance of John Adam's A Flowering Tree at the Symphony, a city-wide scavenger hunt starting at the Embarcadero. For my fun I dropped into the Conservatory of Music's new concert hall to hear a chamber-sized performance of Handel's Ode for St. Cecilia's Day & the Bach Magnificat done by the Conservatory's students. The new space is very comfortable & ideal for small ensembles. When I heard the official opening concert with the full Conservatory Orchestra, at times it seemed like actually too much sound.

The performance was along the lines of John Eliot Gardiner's performance practice: A small but focused chorus of 18 with about the same number of instrumentalists. I'd never heard the Handel before, & I really enjoyed this piece. It's so Baroque. Every number has a different, distinct mood, with different instrumental accompaniments. I especially liked hearing the guitar accompanying one of the arias.

Of course the Magnificat is such a magnificent piece, it's always good to get a chance to hear it.

No comments: