Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mélomanie: Holding Our Attention

How do keep your audience challenged and still keep them engaged? To give them both the contemporary “classical” music and early music experience? Mélomanie, the Wilmington-based ensemble, does this with its varied, unusual programs, which are always brilliantly executed.  Mélomanie’s April concert at Wilmington’s Grace Church included guest artists Elizabeth Field, baroque and modern violins, James Wilson, baritone and David Laganella, composer.

Dr. Wilson opened the program with four concert arias by Giovanni Bononcini.  As Wilson discussed, the text does not touch on a conventional subject like love, but rather, one of betrayal, deceit and politics.  The arias form a cantata, with each one ending with the words, “Tutto è interesse” (All be interest.) Wilson sang with beautiful tone and precision, his presence utterly charming.  His performance of Agostino Steffani’s Lagrime Dolorose was equally impressive, with his command of the long, florid phrases and his excellent musicianship.

Composer David Laganella’s The Last Ray (2013), for baroque flute, baroque violin, baroque cello, viola da gamba and harpsichord is a sometimes eerie, but still hopeful piece.  Laganella explained how the work is a depiction of the world’s last moment: the very last ray of sun.  He was inspired to write the piece because of the Mayan doomsday predictions and the news of the 2013 sequestration.  The piece was featured both before the intermission and at the end of the program.

Flutist Kimberly Reighley performed Claude Debussy’s tantalizing Syrinx with her usual expressive phrasing and warm, mellow tone.  Tracy Richardson, harpsichord and Donna Fournier, viola da gamba graced us with August Kühnel’s Suite in G Minor.  The suite-perhaps the most typical “early music” offering-was a delightful showcase for the two musicians.

Be sure to catch their LiveConnections concert, Mélomanie+Minas, at World Cafe Live at the Queen on May 19 at 12:00pm.


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