Vivaldi by Candlelight 2017: A Kaleidoscope of the Baroque

This Saturday, December 9, I’m conducting the 35th annual Vivaldi by Candlelight concert, for which I’ve had the honor of being the music director since 2004. The event is a fund-raiser for the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy, whose motto is “promoting respect and understanding between the people of Utah and other nations one handshake at a time.”

Here is the program, and below that are the program notes for the concert. If you can come to the concert that would be great. Click here for details. If not, take the time to listen to this amazing music. I’ve provided YouTube links for you in the program. You won’t be disappointed! And best wishes for a happy holiday season!

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Antonio Vivaldi

Sinfonia from the Oratorio, “La Susanna”……………………. Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682)

Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B-flat, BWV ………………..……………………JS Bach (1685-1750)

 

Robert Baldwin and Joel Rosenberg, violas

Concerto for 2 Violins and Cello in D Minor, RV565………..……Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

 

Leslie Henrie and Dallin Hansen, violins; Noriko Kishi, cello

Concerto No. 9 in F for Violin from “La Stravaganza,”RV284………………..……………….Vivaldi

 

Hasse Borup, violin

Concerto Grosso in G Minor, Op.3 No.6……………………..……….Pietro Castrucci (1679-1752)

Battalia a 9……………………………………………………………….…….…Heinrich Biber (1644-1704)

Sinfonia No. 1 in D, Op. 1………………………….….Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (1690-1758)

 

Brescianello. Castrucci. Stradella. No, those are not exotic gelato flavors. They’re the names of Italian Baroque composers who have been all but lost to time, but who achieved equal renown as their contemporary, Antonio Vivaldi, during their lifetimes. It’s long past due they get their just desserts (and I don’t mean gelato). In reality, it was only a quirk of fate that Vivaldi himself is not still among that almost forgotten group as he had been for almost two hundred years. It was almost by accident that literally a library full of his manuscripts was unearthed in 1926 at a boarding school run by Silesian monks in Italy’s Piedmont.

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Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello

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Pietro Castrucci

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Alessandro Stradella

The rest is history. Since then, the vast array of his works—his concertos, sinfonias, sonatas, operas, and motets—have become standard fare for Baroque performances. But what of the others? Like Vivaldi, these Brescianello, Castrucci, and Stradella were both composers and violin virtuosos, and it shows in their dazzling music, demonstrating why the Baroque was a golden age of string ensemble playing. Vivaldi’s fugue in the D Minor Concerto for two violins and cello is alone a mind-bending kaleidoscopic tour de force of contrapuntal composition.But Italy wasn’t the only country to claim greatness in the Baroque era. Heinrich Biber was a violinist and composer renowned throughout Europe—perhaps the first great violin virtuoso—and though his satirical Battalia may not surmount the pinnacle of esthetic sublimity, it certainly paints a starkly graphic and often humorous musical picture of a band of dissolute soldiers. And what can be said about JS Bach that hasn’t already been said? Everything he wrote was gold, and the Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 (played here for the first time on the Vivaldi by Candlelight series) is an exploration of a combination of instruments seen in no other composition I’m aware of. Originally for two violas, two viola da gambas, cello, and violone, tonight we’re going to perform it with a more contemporary instrumentation: three violas, two cellos, and string bass. But I think you’ll get the gist, and will agree that tonight’s program is indeed a kaleidoscope of the Baroque.

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Heinrich Biber

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JS Bach

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2 thoughts on “Vivaldi by Candlelight 2017: A Kaleidoscope of the Baroque

  1. Marie Dougherty

    My husband and I attended the concert last night and loved every minute. It was superb. I had to keep myself from moving to the music. We wished we could have told you in person, but I settled for googling your name and running across this blog. Thank you so much for sharing your talents. If possible, please extend our thanks to your musicians. The evening was a real treat.

    Like

    Reply

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