The October 29 season opening at Grace United Methodist Church was a lively production of new and old music – with the startling newness of Georg Philipp Telemann’s Paris Quartet No. 5 in A Major, TWV 43:A3 – which the artists split to play half before and half after the intermission. Two composers sitting beside me in the audience were marveling at how much more daring and even classical George Philipp Telemann (1681-1770) can be in his gallant style than his contemporary Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and I think they were quite right. The Telemann was zippy, rhythmically unusual and a great vehicle to show off the new member of the group, violinist Christof Richter, whom many in the audience have appreciated from his former appearances with Mėlomanie.
The Giuseppe Tartini Sonata in G Minor (The Devil’s Trill) was a more sedate piece which provided a bridge to Ingrid Arauco’s Silver (Variation diabellique) for solo flute which Arauco had composed for the 25th anniversary of Network for New Music. With the cold outside, snowflakes falling, the silvery tones of Kimberly Reighley’s modern flute made just the right atmosphere for a cold winter’s night. The shimmery sounds of Arauco’s flowing melodies filled the sanctuary with warm light.
Mark Rimple’s Sonata Circumdederunt me had an entirely different accent – of modernist tendencies and humor interspersed with a flash of technical virtuosity from Donna Fournier on the viola da gamba. The harpsichord accompaniment helped ground the harmonic base of the exploratory composition.
The second half of the concert started with the second half of the Telemann, which seemed almost as new as the 21st Century compositions we had just heard. Richter and Reighley led the merry chase of Telemann’s romp which was certainly a highlight. The concert ended with another 21st Century work, a tango in three movements by Christopher Calliendo.
The audience was given these musical treats plus a perk – a gift of a special blend of Pike Creek Coffee blended for Mėlomanie, named "Downtown Wilmo Blend" and branded with great photos of the group.