Sunday was a wonderful spring afternoon for an indoor concert. It was warm and humid with a thick overcast and periods of rain during the day. Such days are designed specifically for a trip back in time to the 1700’s to listen to “Papa” Haydn and his star pupil Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Members of Apollo’s Fire joined forces with past students, graduates and currant faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music for an afternoon of music in the wonderful acoustics of the spacious Finney Chapel. Joining them for a selection of works was the renowned soprano Amanda Forsythe.
The program began with a rousing rendition of Mozart’s “Overture to La finta semplice, K. 51” (1769) which contrasted nicely with Haydn’s Selections from “Symphony No. 44, Trauer” (Mourning) that was performed in two movements (“I. Allegro con brio and II. Menuetto: Allegretto (Canone in Diapason”). At this point in the performance, Amanda Forsythe joined the orchestra to sing two selections from “Lucio Silla, K. 135” (1772). Her performance of “Sposo mia vita…Fra I pensier piú funesti” and “In un istante…Parto, m’affretto” was magnificent. Her control of voice and breath was absolute perfection as her bell clear voice rang throughout the large hall filling every corner with lovely song. Her efforts were aptly and enthusiastically rewarded by not only the appreciative audience but the orchestra as well as they paid tribute to her talent with clapping and stamping of feet.
A short intermission followed and the Orchestra returned to play Haydn’s Selections from “L’isola disabitata, Hob. 28/29” (1799). The first movement “Overture” was followed with the return of Amanda who sang “Fra un dolce delirio”. Along with her tonal control, she brought life to the work with various longing glances into the distance. It added sweetness to an already wonderful piece. She remained on stage for her final number, Mozart’s “Alleluia” from “Ecsultate, jubilate, K. 165 (1773) and after a number of curtain calls did a short encore from the opera “Figaro” finally leaving the stage amidst thunderous applause and foot stamping.
The performance was concluded with the orchestra launching into Mozart’s “Symphony No. 33 in B-flat Major, K. 319” (1779) done in four movements (Allegro assai, Andante moderato, Menuetto and Finale: Allegro assai” concluding a wonderful afternoon of beautiful baroque music.
The orchestra was conducted by Jeannette Sorrell* and the members were: Violin I: Oliver Brault, concertmaster; Johanna Novom*, associate concertmaster, Evan Few*, Carrrie Krause, Jennifer Roig-Francoli and Adriane Post*; Violin II: Julie Andrijeski, principle; Emi Tanabe, Beth Wenstrom*, Tatiana Chulochnikova*, Matthew Santana, Augusta McKay-Lodge*; Vilola: Karina Fox*, principle; Cynthia Black, Chris Nunn and Nathan Giglierano*; Cello: René Schiffer*, principle, Kate Haynes, Catharina Meints**: Contrabass: Sue Yelanjian* and Tracy Rowell; Flute: Kathie Stewart** and Joseph Monticell*; Oboe: Debra Nagy* and Kathryn Montoya**; Bassoon: Mark Vallon and Stephanie Corwin; Horns: Todd Williams and Linda Dempf.
*Oberlin graduates and former students
**Oberlin Conservatory faculty
This concert was the final gathering of Apollo’s Fire for the 2012-2013 season and what a wonderful season it has been. Apollo’s Fire brings to life ancient music with a lightness that allows the listener to float along on a journey of self discovery as the music fills the senses. In short, they make listening to Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Vivaldi, Monteverdi and Charpentier a sensual and moving experience much as the original composers meant for it to be.
Shooting from the lip (my last words): Each and every concert of Apollo’s Fire is not just a feast for the ears, it a banquet for all the senses. I highly recommend that all lovers of fine music keep in touch with Apollo’s Fire through their web page at http://www.apollosfire.org/ and to support them through ticket sales and donations.