Weekend MusicWatch: Baroque & beyond

Michala Petri performs Friday at Chamber Music Northwest.

Michala Petri performs Friday at Chamber Music Northwest.

Baroque sounds again abound this weekend in Oregon. On Friday, the nonpareil Danish recorder virtuosa Michala Petri leads a quartet featuring the superb oboist (and Oregon Bach Festival veteran) Alan Vogel, plus cellist and harpsichordist in Chamber Music Northwest’s all-Baroque (Vivaldi, Bach, Telemann) concert at Reed College’s Kaul Auditorium. Petri’s Baroque concert there during CMNW’s 2012 summer festival was one of the season’s best.

Another Shakespeare fest vet, guitarist David Rogers, enlists two more of his erstwhile Ashland colleagues, baroque dancers Daniel Stephens and Judy Kennedy, Portland Baroque Orchestra cellist Joanna Blendulf and harpist Laura Zaerr to perform Baroque music from Moliere’s 1661 Comédie-Ballet, “Les Facheux,” on Feb. 10 at Eugene’s First United Methodist Church.

Flutist Tessa Brinckmann performs in Corvallis Saturday.

Flutist Tessa Brinckmann performs in Corvallis Saturday.

Baroque music also informs the world premiere work performed Saturday at Corvallis Arts Center by New Zealand born flutist Tessa Brinckmann, who’s spent the past few years performing in Ashland’s Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Longtime OSF composer and fellow Southern Oregon University prof Todd Barton’s new “sonus sonorus” for Baroque flute and electronics, is inspired by an 18th century composition of French composer Jean-Marie Leclair. The splendidly diverse program, which she played Thursday night at Portland State University, also includes Brinckmann’s own sinuous new Turkish-influenced work “Hüzün Nar,” an energetic little piccolo piece by Australian composer Ross Edwards and music by American composers Shirish Korde (a haunting evocation of Japanese shakuhachi music), Washington’s Alex Shapiro (the mysterious “Below,” which evokes whale song and other aquatic echoes) and a virtuosic, appropriately titled barnburner, “Rapid Fire,” inspired by leading American composer Jennifer Higdon’s reaction to inner city violence. Each piece uses a different style and a different instrument, and Brinckmann proved masterful in all of them.

Another flutist, Robert Beall, plays Telemann, Schubert and more with various other chamber musicians at Portland’s Community Music Center Saturday night. The Oregon Chamber Players perform music by Gershwin and more Saturday at Portland’s All Saints Episcopal Church. And on Sunday afternoon in the Celebration Works series at downtown Portland’s First Presbyterian Church, singer Beth Madsen-Bradford and pianist Janet Coleman join PBO violinist Adam Lamotte and soprano Kim Giordano in love songs from the Baroque to the present.

Tosca (Kara Shay Thomson) delivers a sharp rejoinder to Scarpia's (Mark Schnaible) attempted rape and confirmed corruption. © Portland Opera / Cory Weaver

Tosca (Kara Shay Thomson) delivers a sharp rejoinder to Scarpia’s (Mark Schnaible) attempted rape and confirmed corruption. © Portland Opera / Cory Weaver

Orchestral and operatic offerings

On Feb. 9 at the University of Oregon’s Beall Concert Hall, the Oregon Mozart Players continue the revival (apparent here in recent performances and recording by Portland’s Martingale Ensemble) of  chamber orchestra arrangements by composer Arnold Schoenberg for a turn-of-the century Viennese concert series. The concert includes Mahler’s gorgeous song cycle (based on Chinese poetry) “The Song of the Earth,” and Claude Debussy’s beguiling “Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun.”

And this weekend is the last chance to catch Portland Opera‘s performance of “Tosca” at Keller Auditorium. As I wrote in Willamette Week (whose cover this week is appropriately dedicated to the subject of domestic violence): Following last fall’s edgy, modernist version of Don Giovanni, the company delivers a Tosca for traditionalists: costumes and sets that explicitly evoke the original production’s late 19th-century Roman setting; soapy, melodramatic acting; a taut, sex- and violence-spattered thriller plot tightly directed by Metropolitan opera veteran David Kneuss; and of course Giacomo Puccini’s heart-tuggingly rhapsodic melodies, performed ably and powerfully (sometimes too powerfully for the singers, except for Kara Shay Thomson, whose soprano soars in the title role) by the PO orchestra directed by Joseph Colaneri. In this revival of a production last staged here in 2005, bass Mark Schnaible revels so charismatically in his character Scarpia’s unapologetic villainy that we almost root for the bad guy.



One Response.

  1. redipen says:

    the photo, credited ‘Michala Petri performs Friday at Chamber Music Northwest’ is otherworldly – it’s doubtful the surrealistic gamut blowout is intentional – more likely it’s just a cheap cell-phone shot – that it makes the cut (so to speak) causes one to question the ‘Arts’ part of ‘Oregon Arts Watch’… or should it be the ‘Watch’ part? – were we focusing on the ‘Oregon’ part, one might conclude we’re being treated to the warm-up set for a strip-club lighting set up

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