Monday, July 28, 2014

American Bach Soloists and Mary Wilson

The fifth annual summer festival by the American Bach Soloists wrapped up at the San Francisco Conservatory a couple of Sundays ago with their traditional survey of Bach's Mass in B Minor performed by teachers and students side by side. The previous evening they gave a "Distinguished Artist" concert with the teaching staff along with soprano Mary Wilson singing Handel and J.S. Bach.

Unlike the very lively opening concert of the festival called Bach's Inspiration, this evening got off to a bit of a placid start. Wilson sings everything perfectly but without much dramatic variety, and the most expressive sounds came from Sandra Miller on flute above during Bach's Non sa che sia dolore which played like a duet for Baroque flute and soprano.

The evening exploded with energy after intermission in a performance of Vivaldi's Concerto in B minor for 4 violins, with soloists (above, left to right) Elizabeth Blumenstock, Robert Mealy, Katherine Kyme, and Noah Strick.

In fact, at this particular concert, Vivaldi won the Battle of the Baroque Composers by a landslide.

Artistic Director Jeffrey Thomas (above left) came out for the final number to conduct the chamber orchestra in a Vivaldi solo soprano cantata, In furore iustissimae irae.

The performance was splendid, and Mary Wilson got into the vivacious spirit of the music, though she reverted to perfect form for her two Handel opera aria encores.

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