Italian Academy showcases baroque music, talented musicians with concert

Feb 23, 2013 883

As the sweet music filled the highly decorated space, it felt like I was in a late-Renaissance salon.

For the first recital in the Columbia Italian Academy's three-performance spring concert series, members of the Four Nations Ensemble skillfully presented four violin and cello sonatas from the first half of the 18th century. Within the ornate, but inviting space, violinist Krista Feeney, cellist Loretta O'Sullivan, and harpsichordist Andrew Appel performed a collection of pieces by master composer Antonio Vivaldi and his contemporaries. On the whole, the concert offered the densely packed audience a thoroughly satisfying overview of the Baroque chamber music genre.

All four selections, each played on period instruments, offered a pleasant variety of both exciting and calming melodies. Although an occasional unpleasant note or two was allowed to escape, these minute inconsistencies had little effect on the wholly enjoyable atmosphere conjured by all three musicians. More importantly, each player exuded a personal love for music-making that proved infectious. Feeney, in particular, displayed her deep connection to the music with expressive gestures.

When executing extended solos throughout the evening, both Feeney and O'Sullivan rose to the occasion with highly proficient playing. Each performer tackled the many virtuosic runs and trills typical of Baroque music, but they presented their finest and most moving performances when playing touching legato lines. In addition, Appel provided solid and vital accompaniment on the keyboard.

The final two performances in the concert series will feature Busoni, Carter, and Mozart on March 27, and contemporary Italian and Italian-American classical music on May 8.

By Chris Browner / Columbia Spectator

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