I guess it’s a healthy sign when a single weekend on the Oregon classical music scene literally packs more recommended concerts than one person can attend. This weekend, for example, offers a pair of excellent choral programs featuring early music. But you can see only one of them. On Friday at Northwest Portland’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, the superb Portland choir Cappella Romana makes one of its periodic forays away from its usual Byzantine core repertoire, straying into the Iberian sounds of the great Spanish and Portuguese Renaissance composers Tomás Luis de Victoria, Duarte Lobo, and Francisco Guerrero – some of the most glorious music of the era.
Friday night’s other attractive choral concert happens at downtown Portland’s First Christian Church, when the Portland Camerata sings French and Italian Renaissance music, plus works by English Baroque master Henry Purcell and 20th century masterpieces by Arvo Part and Astor Piazzolla. It’s a shame to have to miss either of these fine programs. On the other hand, what a delightful dilemma to have.