Baroque ensemble concert moves audience to tears
Last Friday night, the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble performed music of Antonio Vivaldi, Jean-Phillipe Rameau and Georg Phillipp Telemann. Oberlin students filled Kulas Recital Hall to support their favorite Historical Performance teachers, including violinist Marilyn McDonald, cellist and gambist Catharina Meints, harpsichordist Lisa Goode Crawford, and Michael Lynn playing recorder and traverso.
Vivaldi’s Trio Sonata in G minor was a work of high energy and extreme virtuosity. McDonald and Lynn played the two melodic parts with ease and expressivity. Unfortunately, this was rather difficult to notice as the continuo section almost consistently overpowered the violin and recorder.
The second work performed was the Troisieme Concert from Rameau’s Pieces de Clavecin en concerts. The pieces in this collection are essentially harpsichord concerti with instrumental accompaniment. In the forward to these works, Rameau even admits that they can be performed without the violin, flute and viola da gamba. However, the conglomeration of the evening’s four players created a lovely performance of this delightful work. In particular, Crawford’s solo harpsichord playing, with its brilliant virtuosic passages, was impressive, to say the least. The height of the work was certainly the final movement. Its light-hearted bounce and utter charm left the audience wanting more.
The sixth “Paris” quartet of Telemann brought the concert to a close. As a whole, it was not especially noteworthy. But once again, the final movement proved to be the high point of the work. The rich sonorities and absolutely gorgeous melodies cannot be adequately expressed in words. Many audience members, and gambist Meints, were in tears by the work’s end.
These tears were not inspired only by the music. This concert marked the
final performance that the Oberlin Baroque Ensemble would play together.
Harpsichord professor Lisa Goode Crawford will be retiring after this year and
violin professor Marilyn McDonald will be on sabbatical next semester.
Friday’s performance was not only a lovely concert, but a momentous and
bittersweet occasion for the Historical Performance community at Oberlin.