Baroque by Candlelight
Saturday, February 19th, 2011
Trinity Episcopal Church, 1011 Vermont Street, Lawrence, KS
This year’s Baroque By Candlelight program might easily be subtitled “Baroque Sacred and Profane”, especially when considering that those worlds freely intermingled in the eighteenth century! We begin with the overture to Handel’s magnificent oratorio Theodora. This story, set to music very late in the composer’s life, takes place in Rome during the fledgling period of Christianity, and tells the story of a young woman who refuses to yield either her virtue or her faith in the face of death. Handel’s powerful overture opens both the oratorio and our concert with strength and severity.
Bach’s Concerto for oboe d’amore gives us a glimpse of the original creative impulse which Bach utilized when making transcriptions of his own works for performance on the harpsichord. The majority of his harpsichord concertos were transcriptions from his own earlier compositions (mostly for violin or woodwinds), and our performance gives us the chance to hear what the original might have sounded like. The oboe d’amore is an infrequent guest in orchestral programs, so our audience will have an opportunity both rare and unique. Oboist Margaret Marco is the soloist for this performance.
Telemann is documented as being the most prolific composer of the Baroque period, having written with great fluency, and in every conceivable form. In complete contrast with the story of the Handel overture heard at the beginning of our program, the subject of this extended overture “La Putain” is indeed a lady of dubious repute. The sections of this piece provide musical portrayals of her many associates, places of visit, and activities; fortunately, not all of her exploits are described in the music! The overture is based on a popular song of the time, “I haven’t seen you in such a long time”, which is worked into many sections of the music.
The concert is concluded with the joyous Symphony in B-flat of William Boyce, an English composer and associate of Handel. The first of eight such works, this symphony has no extra-musical story to tell, and is a fine representative of the English style of writing that was developing towards the end of Handel’s lifetime. The music of Boyce makes a return visit to LCO audiences