The Baltimore Consort 

Four stars
Early Music Festival; July 11

The show must go on! That is what everybody says when a monkey wrench gets thrown into a pending production. Loss of air conditioning, the presence of which we now take so much for granted, can be most discomforting in buildings not designed with openable windows or with no windows at all. Especially on a hot, very humid day, as was last Friday. At any rate, I walked into a History Center lobby well into the 90s and a Basile Theater slightly cooler because two large, noisy air cooling units had been brought in; they had to be turned off during the concert. Festival Music Society managing director Gail Bowler had procured 200 fans from — of all places — Washington Park North Cemetery. All this was for the single appearance of the Baltimore Consort: Five instrumentalists joined by soprano Danielle Svonavec had been rehearsing all day in that heat. “The Early Music of Scotland” (mostly 16th and 17th century) was their musical fare. Despite the hellish environment, the program was captivatingly done. Most of the instrumental numbers and songs derived from folk or anonymous sources and were played on various sized viols, a cittern, a crumhorn, flutes, whistles and recorders. Mark Cudec, the FMS’ brand new artistic director, is himself a Baltimore Consort member, apologizing for the heat and playing the cittern and viols. Svonavec displayed a soft but lovely period vocal style. 

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