(I thought about it, but after getting the same “I’d give you a present, but I’m baroque” card for at least three birthdays, I’ll spare you.)
Since my life seems to abhor even the hint of a vacuum, I’ve taken on another project. I’m now doing a little bit of copywriting for the American Baroque Orchestra, a new-ish ensemble based in New Haven.
I haven’t been to one of their concerts yet. Their next one is this Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it, mostly because the sound clips on their website sound fabulous. I also like that they (in particular, their music director) have done a lot of thinking about how to perform early music. And I tend to agree with that thinking. For example:
Composers create music in dialogue with the resources, conditions, and boundaries they face in their time. It’s difficult to appreciate fully the expressive power and detailed nuance of that creative dialogue without trying to re-establish, to the extent possible, some of those actual historical factors.
You can read the rest of the artistic director’s thoughts here. There are even musical examples, which tug at my musicological heartstrings.
Though they’re called the American Baroque Orchestra, the name reflects their approach rather than the repertoire they play. Saturday’s concert is an all-Mozart program. Normally, I might snark at such straightforward programming. But. First of all, a historical approach will make the interpretation different from most. they’re clearly a thoughtful, deliberate ensemble. Second, I like their combination of seriousness and humor. Not just because Mozart had both in good measure, but because it provides a focus to the program. I can’t stand the attitude of “Mozart was great and people like him so now they’ll come to our concert,” but I do like programming with a coherent, interesting slant. Which there seems to be here.
So I am looking forward to good music, played well.