Once again, the International Baroque Soloists have gathered at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House to honor Johann Sebastian Bach, the genius of Baroque music, and the composers who were influenced by him.
Friday's concert was the first of three. This year, each concert will include two of Bach's six Brandenburg Concertos, which are among his most popular and enduring creations.
The evening began with ''Brandenburg Concerto, No. 1 in F.'' It is one of the largest of the set, including music for two horns, three oboes, harpsichord, bassoon, and violino piccolo, a smaller, higher pitched violin, in addition to the usual stringed instruments. Concert master Julie Leven performed on the smaller violin.
OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz
The International Baroque Soloists gathered at the Opera House Friday to honor Johann Sebastian Bach.
The concert ended with ''Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, in D,'' which was less dynamic but more emotional than the first, to the degree a Baroque piece expresses emotion, and included featured roles for flute and violin, and a tour de force for the harpsichord.
Nicole Zenns performed the flute part, and Jennifer Peracchia played the violin solo. Harpsichordist Karl Paulnack played the part which seemed as though three musicians were playing it, and did it with every note distinct and perfectly played. It was a bravura performance.
Between the two concertos was a short work by Georg Phillipp Telemann, and a set of Four German Airs, composed in England by Georg Frideric Handel.
The songs were sung by tenor Gerald Gray, whose light lyric voice and outstanding diction made them completely accessible. Music Director Grant Cooper announced that these songs are Da Capo arias, which somewhat resemble Shakespearean sonnets, in form. The sonnets create a poetic description, then point out the main idea in a succinct epigram.
These arias are intended to illustrate the point of their lyrics, with the music striving to duplicate the sense of the words. In this case, they start with the summary, then diverge poetically, then return again to the first words.
The International Baroque Soloists are 20 musicians from all over the world, who come to Fredonia each June to explore the elegance and precision of Baroque Music. Tonight's concert will begin at 8 p.m. and Sunday's will begin at 4 p.m.