Here are brief reviews of two sort of unusual concerts. They were unusual in that they were held in sort of unusual venues.
- The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra (ABO) had a "pop up" concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Atlanta. Here is a description provided by the ABO:"The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra, the city’s preeminent ensemble for early music, is thrilled to announce the opening of its seventeenth season. On September 20th, 2014, the ABO will popup at in Atlanta’s foremost contemporary visual arts complex, MOCA GA, bringing together old and new in a celebration of Atlanta’s burgeoning arts scene. ABO Artistic Director Julie Andrijeski joins forces with Atlanta natives Evan Few and Antonia Nelson in a program of fiery, kaleidoscopic works for three violins and continuo by the likes of Gabrieli, Marini, and Purcell. Guest artists harpsichordist Adam Jaffe, also originally from Atlanta, and cellist Anneke Schaul-Yoder bring the continuo (improvised harmonies and bass line) to life and complete the musical picture. " The room in which the concert hall was large, hard, and reverberant. The displayed art was excellent and the ABO sounded wonderful. The first piece used "off-stage" strings, the sound of which was compelling. Unfortunately a detailed program was not available, but maybe it did not really matter since the baroque catalogue is so large that much of it is unfamiliar to AMC and maybe others in the audience. But, the music of the Baroque is so wonderful, charming, and warm- and the ABO performs it so beautifully. The most familiar piece was the final one- the Pachelbel Canon and Gigue. Each member of the ABO described each piece before it was played, which was a nice touch. There were about 300 people in attendance- maybe because the concert was without charge to the attendees. Apparently the musicians were donating their time for which AMC is grateful. Here are some photos:
- The second concert was Emory's "Bach Under the Stars" with the Vega Quartet playing in the Emory Planetarium. AMC, as a child, loved going to a planetarium so this concert had an appeal. The program began with the composer's familiar prelude to Suite for Cello No. 1 played competently by cellist Guang Wang. Similar to the ABO concert, this one proceeded without benefit of a program. Solo pieces were also played by Jessica Shuang Wu (violin) and Yinzi Kong (viola). But the star of the evening was Domenic Salerni who played the Bach Chaconne. Salerni plays with confidence and accuracy. His stellar performance was made thrilling as the lights went down and the Zeiss star projector arose from the floor. He continued to play in the total darkness. It was the brightest performance AMC ever heard in the dark. The acoustics of the planetarium were interesting. In such a high- domed room, one might expect to hear odd reflections but since there are heavy velvet curtains surrounding the auditorium the sound almost became anechoic. The acoustic environment was warm but not reverberant so any poor bowing or intonation problems were highlighted. fortunately, this was a minor issues for the Vegans. Thanks to Will Ransom for getting AMC a ticket. It was greatly appreciated. Photos: