Tuesday, May 07, 2013

ABS: Bach & Handel

American Bach Soloists photo IMG_20130505_155812_zpsd97fab42.jpgSunday afternoon I heard American Bach Soloists present an appealing program of vocal works by Bach & Handel. It opened with a gorgeous performance of Handel's Silete venti. Soprano Mary Wilson sounded warm, sparkling, & joyous. Her coloratura singing in the Alleluja was effortlessly smooth. The orchestra played alertly, & John Abberger's oboe solos were immaculate. The audience responded with cheers.

Baritone Mischa Bouvier sang 3 arias from different Bach cantatas. I like his deep, comfy, & virile sound. Flute soloist Sandra Miller stood in front of the orchestra for her virtuosic music in the 1st & 3rd selections & sounded nicely even. Cellist William Skeen played long, rapid runs in the 2nd selection with accuracy. Conductor Jeffrey Thomas did not conduct the first 2 selections, which only require continuo instruments.

The orchestra, numbering from 15 to 19 instrumentalists, was a consistently tight ensemble & always had a good balance with the singers. In Handel's secular cantata Apollo and Dafne, the 2 soloists sang characterfully & acted their characters' antagonism. The audience laughed when Ms. Wilson's Dafne escaped by hurriedly retreating to a seat in the audience. For her first, buccolic aria the violinists, imitating lutes, plucked their instruments like mandolins. Principal violin Robert Mealy played his concerto-like solo for Dafne's transformation with vigor & control. Kate van Orden's agile bassoon passages stood out. The performance was impeccable & received long applause & a standing ovation.

American Bach Soloists photo IMG_20130505_170621_zpse60f30f1.jpgWhile the stage was reset after Silete venti, Maestro Thomas encouraged us to attend ABS's up-coming performance of Biber's huge 53-voice Missa Salisburgensis. Light refreshments were available during the intermission for a small donation. The church ambiance changed picturesquely during the concert's 2nd half, when the sun started coming through the windows at a low angle.

§ American Bach Soloists
Mary Wilson, soprano
Mischa Bouvier, baritone
Jeffrey Thomas, conductor

HANDEL: Silete venti, HWV 242

J.S. BACH: Arias for Bass
“Laß, o Welt, mich aus Verachtung” from cantata BWV 123
“Das Brausen von den rauhen Winden” from cantata BWV 92
“Doch weichet, ihr tollen, vergeblichen Sorgen!” from cantata BWV 8

HANDEL: Apollo & Dafne, HWV 122

Sunday, May 5 2013, 4:00 pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church

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