The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 19, 1999


Concert Review: Chamber season ends on a high note

The largest chamber music audience in recent memory braved the snow last Thursday night to reach Union Hall and enjoy a marvelous concert by The Flanders Recorder Quartet. The group had just arrived from Mexico and was commencing its third tour of the United States. There was not the slightest sign of travel fatigue in this quartet. They maintained an incredibly high level of energy, enthusiasm and good humor in their playing, from the Telemann "Concerto in C," with which they started the evening, to the encore, excerpts from Bizet's "Overture to Carmen."

In between, the concert consisted primarily of Baroque music (Issac, de Araujo, Bach and Vivaldi), enhanced by one contemporary and three lovely medieval pieces. Whether it was a fugue, a concerto, a lament, a song of love or war, or an arrangement of familiar themes, the men from Flanders delivered it with just the right interpretation, dynamics and nuances, The musicians enhanced the musical experience with interesting introductions and explanations.

Their musicianship is superb. The members of the group truly enjoy playing together. At times it was hard to imagine that just four people could produce such remarkable and complex sound. (Consider that the concertos were written for whole orchestras.) Yet, at other times the group sounded just as if it were a single instrument. The intonation was close to perfection. During breaks,the audience was abuzz about the musicians' incredible articulation.

During the evening, musical sounds were heard from 22 different recorders, covering a wide range of pitch and texture. An occasional non-recorder sound would enhance a particular musical moment and, once, a wonderful solo was played on a medieval hand drum.

This was the concluding Chamber Music by Candlelight concert of the season presented by the Cambridge Society for Early Music. The offerings this season have been outstanding. The setting for the musical presentations is intimate, enhanced by candlelight and followed by a reception where you can talk with the performers and enjoy homemade refreshments. The Society, which has been giving these concerts for the past I 8 years, has indicated the artists it plans to present next season. I encourage you to watch for the dates to be announced.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito