Rachel Barton Pine, a master of the viola d'amore and
consummate Baroque violinist could be said to have hidden her light under a
bushel last Friday when she appeared as a member of the Trio Settecento. On Sunday she
unleashed her full playing talents with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra in
bravura performances of works by Vivaldi (1678-1741) preceding an extraordinary
display in a final work by Pietro Antonio Locatelli (1695-1764). This also marked
the final concert of this season's Indy Early Music Festival.
Until Sunday, the previous programs had been delving into
the temporal backwaters of what we call today "classical music." The music played
and the songs sung mostly appeared before key signatures solidified into
"major" and "minor." There
was no such thing as modulation as there was no center or "tonic" key from
which to modulate (i.e. to change abruptly to another tonic key signature which
then lasts for a while).
Music with these key signatures lasted about 200 years
between the early 1700s to the early 1900s, after which modulation again became
two-century era, often called the "common practice period" resides at the
center of what is classical music to most people. Prior to 1700, most music was
prevent the exploration into all 12 tones of the chromatic scale.
With the adoption of equal or unrestricted temperament in
the Romantic era, modern music could go anywhere it wished at any time in the
12-tone scale. Frequent modulation,
coupled with thick, non-consonant chords, became the standard in the last
hundred years. What
it gained in "artistic freedom" it may have lost in the common-practice vehicle
of creating tension/resolution within the discipline of key signatures.
But I digress: Pine
was viola d'amore soloist in three Vivaldi concertos scattered throughout the
had three movements, all in fast - slow - fast format, calling for much
intricate solo work, especially in continuous arpeggiation up and down. All the players
were knit together like fine embroidery, as they were in Pine's absence in
Vivaldi's Concerto for Strings in C.
But the two most interesting works were the eight-part "Imitation
caràcteres de la danse" by Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755) which showed the eight-player Baroque Orchestra all
standing and playing without conductor and Pietro Antonio Locatelli's "L'Arte
del Violino" Op. 2 No. 12 entitled "The Harmonic Labyrinth." The latter work was where Pine truly
exposed her talent in full. Sweeping arpeggios, playing harmonics and solid tones together at
a breakneck pace all led to a solo cadenza, where she again outdid herself. The audience
thundered for more, and got a solo Locatelli Caprice, later joined by cellist
Susan Rozendaal and theorbo player David Walker.
What a way to end a season! July 12; Indiana History Center