Baroque with a Difference
There are not many who happen to know that, apart from in Western Europe, Baroque music was also composed and performed in Latin America. Names of South American composers such as Gaspar Fernandez, Melchior de Torres and Juan Hidalgo are also all but unknown in the West.
While there are some common denominators, such as tonalities and period instruments, this is Baroque music with a difference. One owes a debt of gratitude to the Phoenix Ensemble of period instruments, directed by Myrna Herzog, for introducing the local audience to this music.
Deriving its inspiration mainly from Spanish, Indian and African sources, this music is infectiously exuberant, energetically rhythmic and good-humored, except for some more solemn and occasionally melancholic pieces. The vocal music was particularly enchanting, presented by Michal Okon's bright soprano whose guttural inflection contributed the appropriate sense of authenticity. Roni Ivrin emerged as a fabulous percussionist on a never-ending array of sound sources.
A New World of music led the audience back to a remote 17th century.
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