Completing 19 years of presenting early music concerts to the Calgary public, Early Music Voices’ season-ending concert featured J.S. Bach’s Magnificat.

On hand for the event at Christ Church in Elbow Park Sunday afternoon was not only the full complement of singers, strengthened slightly for this larger work, but Rosa Barocca, the new Baroque chamber orchestra founded recently by Claude Lapalme. This was the ensemble that also provided the instrumental component of the fine performance of Alexander’s Feast a few weeks ago by Luminous Voices.

Here, as on the previous occasion, the orchestra impressed with its high standard of playing. Once again, the collected violin section was especially fine, with some impressive unison playing in difficult music. The woodwinds, too, were in top form; the many solo passages for the oboe flexibly shaped and with beautiful tone.

The intimate sound of the viola da gamba was a treat as well, as was the theorbo continuo playing. It was the world of early music performance at its most delicious. Only some challenges in the trumpet parts occasionally marred the surface, a reminder that in days gone by that to play the Baroque trumpet required a special guild, and with extra pay. The parts are that hard.

The choir, composed of singers most with solo capacity, was fully equal to Bach’s demanding writing. The choir was able to produce clear runs in the fast passages and strongly projected drama in the chordal writing — all with a fine understanding of the articulation required by the Baroque style. Members of the choir sang the short solos interspersed in this work — too many to mention individually.

However, the soprano work of Hannah Pagenkopf needs to be singled out for its special, silvery beauty and expressiveness — singing that reminded me of a young Emma Kirkby. Tenor Jerald Fast …read more

Source:: Calgary Herald


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