Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

June 28, 2009

Haydn & Bach Concert

Aston Magna, Great Barrington, MA
through July 11, 2009
by Debra Tinkham

Daniel Stepner, Artistic Director, stepped out with fellow performers, Nancy Wilson (violin), David Miller (viola) and Loretta O'Sullivan (cello), to begin Aston Magna's season opening performance with Franz Josef Haydn's entertaining and fun String Quartet in D Major, Op 20, No. 4.

As is usual with this talented group of musicians, their use of non-verbal communication, in addition to their splendid talent, combined to make the Allegro di molto a wonderful listening experience. The echoes of Un poco adagio e affetuoso, along with the melancholy of the cello, were enough to move one to tears. Minuet alla Zingarese, a menuet in a rapid 3/4 time, was just short and sweet! Finally, Presto e scherzando' harmony was not only in the music, but in the personality of the performers. Haydn's Arianna a Naxos, cantata for soprano and strings, welcomed Dominique Labelle, vocalist, and Anne Trout, bass viol. Labelle captivated listeners with her full-bodied, rich voice, comparable to a hearty, full-bodied burgundy. This mythical operatic story combines the talent of several composers and still remains slightly cloudy as to where the credit should be given. It is the usual story of love, suffering, anger, and in this case, a happy ending.

Intermission was followed by the enjoyment of Johann Sebastian Bach's Weichet nur, betrubte Schatten, a wedding Cantata, sung by Labelle, and the evening concluded with Heitor Villa Lobos' Bachianus Brasileiras No. 5, again, tastefully performed by Labelle.

Aston Magna has a bevy of upcoming beauties, including Handel's The Beggar's Opera on July 4th. The fireworks of music are sure to please the most discerning listener. So much music; not enough time to expound on the brilliance and talent of the "Aston Magna Meistros." Bravo!