|Mélomanie performed at The Delaware Contemporary on Feb. 14.
Music lovers who braved Sunday’s frigid temps got treated to a concert of sweet musical morsels from Mélomanie.
The program was an eclectic one, featuring the works of the definitely Baroque Telemann, the stylistically fluid Ibert and neo-Baroque contemporary Kile Smith.
The program featured a reprise performance of Smith’s The Nobility of Women, which was commissioned by Mélomanie and premiered in 2012. Mélomanie Co-Artistic Director Tracy Richardson commented that the ensemble gave Smith the choice of an additional instrument to be played by a guest artist. He chose the oboe — an instrument not uncoincidentally played by his daughter, Priscilla Herreid. Herreid reprised her role as guest soloist for this concert.
Smith’s composition proves that musical styles never really disappear, they just go out of fashion until inspiration or musical necessity spark their resurrection. Smith took his cue for this eight-movement work from the name of the 16th Century dance manual Nobilita di Dame by Fabritia Caroso. Each movement bears the name of a Baroque dance form: Allemande, Sarabande, Musette, Ciaccona.
The work is a pretty staid affair until Richardson breaks out with a dazzling harpsichord solo in the third movement. Herreid did herself proud, soloing in the Sarabande, which features a delicate italianate melody of great beauty. The Ciaccona served as a fitting finale, packed with interesting flourishes.
Smith’s work paired quite nicely with Telemann’s Quartet in G Major from the “Tafelmusik” collection. “Tafelmusik” — literally meaning table music — is a mid-16th Century term for music played at banquets. Mélomanie imbued the piece with a vigor and flourish that would compel anyone to put down their fork and defer to the music.
The program also featured the Two Interludes for flute, violin and harpsichord by 20th Century French composer, Jacques Ibert. The first interlude was slow and stately, in triple meter, reminiscent of a Baroque sarabande. The second was fast with swirls of color and a Spanish flavor thanks to inflections of the Phrygian mode. Both pieces were rich in tone yet balanced a perfection union of lushness of Impressionism and the clarity of Classicism. Flutist Kimberly Reighley, violinist Christof Richter and harpsichordist Richardson strike the perfect balance between lushness and clarity of tone and texture.
Rounding out the program were selections by two all-but-forgotten French composers: Louis-Antoine Dornel, a contemporary of J.S. Bach and Benoit Guilemant, an 18th Century flutist.
Herreid once again showed her mastery of the Baroque oboe — a notoriously difficult beast to tame — in the former’s Sonata n G Major, which featured a lively interplay between soloist and bass.
Cellist Douglas McNames and gambist Donna Fournier — this time on cello collaborated on a lively performance of the latter’s melodic Sonata No. 4 in C Major, Op. 3.