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Concert review

Viva Vivaldi

With the Ars Nova Musicians Chamber Orchestra.

Sunday in First Presbyterian Church.

The second concert of Viva Vivaldi XXVI was marvelously varied.

It began with Handel's Concerto Grosso in C, Alexander's Feast. This airy, celebratory music benefited greatly by the delicate interplay of Ars Nova soloists: violinists Douglas Cone and Jacqueline Galluzzo, cellist Nancy Anderson, oboists Carolyn Banham and Christine Ross, and bassoonist Ron Daniels.

Vivaldi's Concerto in D for violin came next, with Antoine Lefebvre as soloist. The piece began with one of those panting orchestral introductions so typical of Vivaldi, and then Lefebvre took over, with aplomb.

Roman Mekinulov, the BPOs principal cellist, stepped into the spotlight for a cello concerto in C minor by J.C. Bach. A born performer, he threw himself into the music, stomping his foot, drawing his bow across the strings with such force that by the finale, it was in shreds. He filled the Adagio movement with Romantic passion.

Mekinulov dug deep into the cadenza of the last movement, playing it with conviction. The audience jumped up and gave him a standing ovation.

That was a hard act to follow, but after intermission, clarinetists John Fullam and Patti Dilutis and oboists Carolyn Banham and Christine Ross turned out an intricate performance of Vivaldi's Concerto in C for two oboes, two clarinets, strings and cembalo, RV 560. It was quite a display of understated virtuosity.

The Buffalo Gay Men's Chorus sang a glowing Jubilate Deo by Heinrich Schutz -- a ringing, joyful piece, made even more joyful by its characteristic enthusiasm and attention to detail. Delius Acquarelle No. 1, To be sung of a summer's night on the water, was a highlight, with its sensuality and languorous phrases. It was a sweet change of pace.

The night ended with the Gloria in Excelsis from Vivaldi's famous Gloria, RV 589. This was Viva Vivaldi at its best: the chorus giving it all they had, conductor Mary Louise Nanna mouthing the exultant words along with them, the musicians providing luminous accompaniment.

Viva Vivaldi XXVI continues Sunday at Temple Beth Zion and Nov. 21 at Trinity Episcopal Church. Both concerts begin at 6:30 p.m.


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