New Trinity Baroque
Joyce Mortison

About 270 Atlanta concertgoers were treated to a very significant and impressive early music program. The Monteverdi Vespers of the Blessed Virgin (1610) was performed by the New Trinity Baroque Ensemble on March 9th at St. Jude's and March 10th at Peachtree Christian Church in Atlanta. Both performances were conducted by Predrag Gosta. Among the guest artists were Leif Aruhn-Solen, tenor (Sweden); Michael Fields, chitarrone (England); James Gallagher, baroque violin (Dallas, TX); and the Washington Cornett and Sackbutt Ensemble (Washington, DC).

The Monteverdi Vespro Della Beata Vergine is one of Monteverdi's most glorious works and is thought by some to be one of the most significant pieces ever composed - right along with Handel's Messiah. The rich melodies were superbly performed by 21 voices and 12 instruments, including baroque violins, baroque cello, harpsichord, chitarrone, organ, recorders, three cornettos, and three sackbutts. The music was hauntingly beautiful, and sensitively conducted and performed. The voices and choir sang so perfectly in tune that many harmonic overtones thrilled the ear.

At the Peachtree Christian Church, the size of the sanctuary provided the better acoustics. Many of the pieces were inspiring. One of the most electric was the Concert (Motet) Audi coelum. The solo tenor (Leif Aruhn-Solen) stood in the high pulpit, while the other tenor (Patrick Hagan) sang the echo part in the back balcony. The choir was at the altar. The clear tone of the Mr. Aruhn-Solen rang out over the audience while Mr. Hagan's responses echoes from the back. After the piece, you could hear a pin drop in the sanctuary as the audience seemed stunned for several seconds.

It was a marvelous performance by 33 outstanding musicians. Both performances received a standing ovation. Mr. Gosta is to be congratulated for bringing this music and these performers together.

Some of the comments from other audience members:

Glen Middleton: "This is the most outstanding musical performance that I have heard in Atlanta since I came here in 1976 and was the only time that Monteverdi has been performed on original instruments in Atlanta."

Paul Miller: "This is the best cornetto playing that I have ever heard in a live performance."

John Hillenbrand: "This is one of the best early music performances this year."

Review by Joyce Mortison; Reprinted from THE PIPELINE (May 2002) - Newsletter of the American Recorder Society. Used with permission.


Photo: The Monteverdi Vespers of 1610 (3-9-2002, Church of St. Jude)
(click over the photo to see it in its full size)

Click HERE to listen to the opening solo & chorus from our March performance of the Vespers of 1610, by Claudio Monteverdi (Deus in adiutorium / Domine ad adiuvandum), or SEE MORE SELECTIONS.


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