Passionate beginnings and sorrows ends engulf Baroque Chamber Orchestra’s audience

Andrew Fraieli
Posted 10/10/22

Passionate beginnings, tense freedom, unavoidable endings and beautiful sorrow engulfed the Lakewood Cultural Center Oct. 9.

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Passionate beginnings and sorrows ends engulf Baroque Chamber Orchestra’s audience


Aspens may be turning yellow outside, but inside the Lakewood Cultural Center Oct. 9, the Baroque Chamber Orchestra presented all four seasons through the language of Vivaldi.

The Orchestra began not with Spring though, but Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major, bolstering even more expectation and anticipation for the season.

But before Spring began, the soloist, Pauline Kempf began a prelude they created specifically for the occasion. Frank Nowell, founder and artistic director of the orchestra, challenged each soloist to create their own prelude to the concerto they’d be performing, and they succeeded with flying colors and intuitive passions.

Kempf’s prelude to Spring brought the sounds of the season to life, with birds chirping, and a sense of pure curiosity, passionate beginnings and escape from a darker time. The excitement of something new perfectly began the season of new starts.

Ingrid Mathews’ prelude was a more excited reflection of Winter, harnessing the darker mood of the piece and bringing it to light as a start to Summer.

Each prelude shows the personality of the soloist, but Martin Davids channeled Vivaldi more than himself. He created what was an almost perfect extension of the concerto, a beginning that may have simply been lost in time, written by Vivaldi himself.

And before Winter, Cynthia Miller Freivogel harnessed the gradual transition of color to darkness, light to melancholy, autumn to winter. Smoother than Winter itself with its sharp breaks, Freivogel brought the sensations of loss and goodbyes to the forefront, before a beautiful acceptance that led straight into the sudden break of Vivaldi’s season of death.

Nowell made the point that the Orchestra wants to show the audience more than just baroque hits, but the lesser known pieces that are still highly representative of their author, and they ended with Vivaldi’s Variations on La Folia — and a beautiful conclusion it was.

This piece allowed every bright string in the orchestra to shine and blaze like the Seasons couldn’t. The talent of the Orchestra was clear before, but now engulfing. The visual of all four soloists standing side by side — the violas, the cello, the bass, all together — showcased even more than the piece itself, but the performers' glee and pleasure in performing together.

“I don’t know there’s one we’ve missed,” said Dean Snyder, an audience member who said he has been seeing the orchestra perform for the last 12 years. “We’re fans,” Snyder and his wife said. 


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