Indianapolis Early Music Festival concert review

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Indianapolis Early Music Festival concert review


The second weekend of the Festival Music Society's early music programming began with a precursor to bluegrass, titled "Baroque virtuosity and Celtic Thunder." Vocalist, flutist and small-pipe player Chris Norman and violinist (or, more appropriately, "fiddler" in this case) David Greenberg were joined by lutanist Ronn McFarlane and cittern player and bass violist (and FMS artistic director) Mark Cudek for rousing music of the Scottish Highlands. This material dates mostly from the late Baroque period, the era of Bach, Handel, etc. It included some Irish pieces, as well as two Bach excerpts, for solo flute and solo violin. Composer names, such as William McGibbon, James Oswald, Thomas Moore and "sea" Captain Simon Fraser (who contributed the reel: "Bedding of the Bride") were prominent. McFarlane included three of his own pieces, fitting nicely into the mélange. Greenberg's fiddle playing revealed, in fine fashion, the origins of the music of Appalachia. On Sunday, I Furiosi, a five-player Canadian group, offered quite a change of pace. For one thing, Gabrielle McLaughlin provided captivating singing with an "attitude," appearing along with two female violinists with hair coloring beyond what nature can manage, a cellist and a lute/theorbo player, both male. Though young, cross-cultured in dress and with the inclusion of some shtick in their presentation, they are all first-class musicians, sampling Renaissance, Baroque, Classical and Romantic fare. McLaughlin's rendering of Handel's "Myself I Shall Adore" and "The Plaint," from Henry Purcell's opera The Fairy Queen, were two of many highlights.

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