Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra
All Saints Episcopal Church
Face it: Church sanctuaries generally create an acoustic challenge for well-articulated music, whereas for a choir and an organ they are made to order. The charming, venerable, all-brick-interior of All Saints Church on Central Avenue is a prime example. Under the co-sponsorship of St. Paul’s Music and IndyBaroque, Inc., the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra played the first of its three scheduled season concerts there while St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on North Meridian is being remodeled. Guest soloists included trumpeter Barry Bauguess of Oberlin Conservatory’s Baroque Performance Institute, our own soprano Kathleen Hacker (chair of University of Indianapolis’ music department) and Robert Green, who plays an 18th century hurdy-gurdy and tours worldwide with it.
Entitled “The Trumpet Shall Sound,” the program opened with a short sinfonia by Vivaldi. With their sounds a bit smudged, our 13 players — 12 strings and a single bassoon — performed it together and well, so far as I could tell. Bauguess then appeared for Arcangelo Corelli’s Sonata in D of 1704. He made beautiful sounds with his valveless, Baroque trumpet, the string players indistinctly backing him up.
Green’s hurdy-gurdy then followed, a lute-shaped curiosity resting on his lap, hand-cranked and finger-stopped for varying the pitches. Frankly, its timbres resembled a weak, vibratoless violin with sandpaper-like scratching. The piece was, incidentally, Troisième Concert de Noël (Third Christmas Concerto) by the unknown Frenchman Michel Corrente (1709-1795), the music as vapid as the instrument.
Then came Hacker, Bauguess and Bach’s short Cantata No. 51, Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen. At this point any Bach would do, and this one did just fine. As far as I could determine through the acoustic haze, Hacker has an excellent Baroque-style voice, one failing often to project through the other instruments but better revealing itself in her second aria beginning, “Höchster.” Locating himself toward the rear, Bauguess’ trumpet blended well with the ensemble.
Our Baroque group’s final offering was the Symphony No. 65 in A by Giovanni Sammartini (1700-1775). Another case of weak, ineffectual music well-played.