On Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 3 pm in Carmel’s Sunset Center, the Carmel Music Society presented a return engagement by Philharmonia Baroque. This is the fourth time the San Francisco Bay Area-based Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra has appeared on a Carmel Music Society concert season, and although the personnel may change from concert to concert, concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock has remained a constant. The concert line-up for the first half included works by baroque composers Locatelli, Pisendel, Veracini, and Vivaldi, however, it was announced before the concert began that the Vivaldi work to be included would not be the “Autumn” movement from the Seasons, but the Double Oboe Concerto in D Minor instead, due to Blumenstock feeling cramps in her arm the day before. We were assured that she was fully up to the rest of the concert, but to prevent further injury, just not up to the extreme taxing of “Autumn.” And by a few movements in, we forgot about being concerned for her as she simply played consistently and beautifully.
The concert program was titled, “The Republic of Music – Venice, Vivaldi, Visitors, and Virtuosi.” From Scott MacClelland’s program notes, “This program demonstrates both the restrictions and the flexibility of Italian Baroque musical forms and practices; with only slight variations, what works for a concerto grosso works as well for a solo concerto, sinfonia, or solo sonata and equally for vocal music both sacred and secular.”
Oboe players Marc Schachman and David Dickey were fairly busy this concert with the Johann Georg Pisendel (1688-1755) Concerto for Violin and Two Oboes in G Minor, the substituted Vivaldi Double Oboe Concerto, as well as playing on other pieces of the program; Schachman was the featured soloist on the Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751) Concerto for Oboe in D Minor in the second half.
Of special note in the oboe-centric program was the oboe-free penultimate work, Concerto for Violin in A Major, D.91 by Giuseppe Tartini (1692-1770). This is a must look-up for those who were not in attendance; the hearty first movement Allegro is followed by a surprisingly delicate Adagio, ending with a wonderful solo cadenza in the Presto.