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The Atlanta Baroque Orchestra presented “Music Then, Music Now” at the Roswell Presbyterian Church. The venue is beautiful in its simplicity and it has wonderful acoustics. I have not been in an auditorium that so suited the musical performance in some time. The program featured works by Telemann, Handel and Tavener (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Tavener). The Telemann featured two wood flute solos that were warm and calming. These flutes have a mellowness that is generally not heard with metal flutes, except in the hands of an exceptional flautist. I really appreciated the wonderful clarity of the continuo in these pieces. I really appreciated that way in which the acoustics enabled me to separate the strings from the continuo. The latter made sense to me, which in the past I have not really appreciated. As I have noted before, the harpsichord (which is part of the continuo) is subtle and elegant. In recordings it is harsh and loud, making it seem like it is driving the music rather than supporting it.
The Tavener was ecstatically beautiful. Tavener has been called a “holy minimalist” composer, which is a complement in my book. The Chandos Anthem was sung by soprano Judith Overcash accompanied by Julie Andrijeski, the music director of the ABO. The lyrics simple- repeated singing of the word “Alleluia.” The music requires the soprano to soar to her upper ranges, while the cellos and bass play a stunning drone note. This was a glorious piece of music, sung by a talented soprano in a gorgeous venue. Who could ask for more?
The ABO is a talented group. Its players are very sympathetic to the music, which is sometimes lacking, for example, in the ASO.
I look forward to their next concert.