(photo credit: )
"Venice from Monteverdi to Vivaldi"
The soloist of Vivaldi's Bassoon Concerto in B flat Major, Maurizio Paez, stole the show in the Israel Camerata's concert entitled "Venice from Monteverdi to Vivaldi." Also included were pieces by the German-born Handel, conducted by Avner Biron.
Vivaldi appears here as one of the rare composers who is blessed with a sense of humor. Letting the unwieldy bassoon - a "bass instrument without bass power," according to Thomas Mann - jump and perform flexible antics and swiftly flowing runs despite its clumsiness, is a masterpiece in poking fun at the audience and the performer. Paez captured the comic spirit of the piece with elegance, brilliant virtuosity, and a soulful songfulness in the slow movement.
Mary Nelson's soprano, in a Suite from Handel's opera Agrippina and Vivaldi's Motet In Furore, sounded too small for the not particularly large Henry Crown Hall. Climbing up to the high notes seemed to require a considerable effort that caused her to shout when a soft sound would have been more appropriate, and coloraturas were slurred rather than polished. If her rendition had been as seductive as her attire, it would have been an irresistible performance.
The instrumental works by Gabrieli, Corelli - his "Christmas Concerto," presumably to celebrate Tu Bishvat - Monteverdi, and Galuppi were rendered impressively. Rests were imposed to let the dramatic tension accumulate in the operatic pieces.