BWW Review: SARASOTA MUSIC FESTIVAL at Sarasota Orchestra

BWW Review: SARASOTA MUSIC FESTIVAL at Sarasota Orchestra

Sarasota Music Festival, under the sponsorship of the Sarasota Orchestra, runs from June 4 through June 23, 2018 at the Sarasota Opera House and the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center in Holley Hall. Conductor/violinist Paul Wolfe was the co-founder of the Sarasota Music Festival and its artistic director for 42 years. He also served as artistic director of Sarasota Orchestra and was named conductor laureate at the conclusion the 1995-1996 season. Maestro Wolfe retired after 35 years as violinist with the Florida String Quartet.

Brilliantly Baroque was the program I was lucky enough to catch and it was delightful! From the Portuguese barroco, or "oddly shaped pearl," the term "baroque" has been used to describe the period in Western Europe depicting a style of highly ornate architecture, art and music, which flourished in Europe from the early 17th through the late 18th century. Revered composers during that period include Vivaldi, Bach, and Handel.

Brilliantly Baroque was a tribute to Bach and Vivaldi and presented in traditional Baroque fashion where the musicians stood during their performance, with exception of music director/conductor Jeffrey Kahane who played the piano and harpsichord. What a touch of elegance the harpsichord adds with its muted, brittle tones. The proficient soloists were accompanied by a skillful chamber orchestra that brought depth and levity to each piece.

The numbers featured in the concerti were Bach's Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C Minor, BWV 1060 with soloists Allan Vogal, oboe and Margaret Batjer, violin. Vivaldi's Concerto for two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531 featured soloists Clive Greensmith, cello and Nathan Mo, cello. Bach's Keyboard Concerto in F Major with two obbligato flutes, BWV 1057 featured accompanist Jeffery Kahane, piano, and flautists Carol Wincenc and Lana Kuscer. The concerti closed with Vivaldi's Summer from The Four Seasons RV 315, featuring Ani Kavafian, violin.

In the opening number, featuring the oboe and violin, the soloists brilliantly ran through hills and valleys of musical scales, challenging the finest of artistry, while the orchestra laid down their bows and plucked accentuated notes with perfection.

Students such as cellist Nathan Mo stepped up to the plate when partnered with faculty artist Clive Greensmith in Vivaldi's Concerto for Two Cellos in G Minor, RV 531. Seeing and hearing students and faculty come together with such finesse and musicianship is what this festival is all about.

The audience could hardly keep their eyes off Jeffrey Kahane who conducted while also performing on the ivories. His solo work is worth watching, as he cannot sit still. He bursts with enthusiasm and passion for each piece. Being a flautist myself (and in no way accomplished by any means), I particularly enjoyed The Keyboard Concerto in F Major with two obbligato flutes, BWV 1057. The flautists delivered some of the most beautiful pieces of work written for the flute, featuring charismatic faculty member Carol Wincec infusing her repertoire with that of a subtler yet competent student, Lana Kuscer.

Perhaps the only thing missing from the evening was a camera zoomed in and projecting on a big screen showing live close-ups of masterful finger-works, expressions and deep concentration. That's hard to accomplish without getting in the way but I love to see the faces and handiwork of conductors and musicians.

If you are visiting the Sarasota area or are lucky enough to be a resident, treat yourself to the beautiful sounds of the Sarasota Music Festival. For more information visit

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From This Author Carolan Trbovich

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