Concert Artists' first show promises inspired season MUSIC REVIEW

November 15, 1993|By Kenneth Meltzer | Kenneth Meltzer,Contributing Writer

The Concert Artists of Baltimore inaugurated its seventh season under Artistic Director Edward Polochick with an ambitiously varied and challenging program. American composer John Adam's "Shaker 6,7l Loops," Handel's "Dixit Dominus" and Tchaikovsky's "Serenade for Strings" require the utmost in virtuosic execution and that is what the Concert Artists of Baltimore provided in abundance Saturday night at LeClerc Hall.

The centerpiece of the evening was Handel's setting of Psalm 110, "Dixit Dominus," composed for solo voices, chorus and string orchestra. Not only did the chorus negotiate the seemingly endless barrage of sixteenth notes with accuracy and security, the voices were always beautiful and homogeneous. All of the soloists (sopranos JoAnne Dolan, Susan Schreiner, Faith Okkema and Darci Bultema, mezzo-soprano Patricia Green, tenor Paul Cohill and bass James Dobson) handled their daunting assignments with assurance. Of

special note were Patricia Green's lovely and unforced reading of the "Tecum principio" and the ethereal blending of Faith Okkema and Darci Bultema's voices in the "De torrente."

The concert began with John Adams' 1978 minimalist composition "Shaker Loops." The great challenge of this and many other minimalist compositions is to highlight the variety of dynamics and texture sufficiently to maintain the audience's interest. The rapt attention and warm ovation of the assembled at LeClerc hall was an eloquent testament to their efforts.

Tchaikovsky's lush "Serenade for Strings" provided a fitting conclusion to the evening. The rich sound of the Concert Artists Orchestra created the illusion of a relatively large ensemble. Mr. Polochick's approach to the work was decidedly unsentimental; tempos were brisk and fluctuations in tempo were few and restrained.

This concert marks the beginning of the Baltimore Concert Artist's association with The College of Notre Dame and LeClerc Hall. The intimate environment appears ideal for the organization's approach to music making, although the acoustic appears more congenial for the lower strings than the violins and violas.

ART SHOW

What: "Art 93" show and sale to benefit the Baltimore Choral Arts Society

Where: Conference Center at Sheppard Pratt, 6501 N. Charles St.

When: Opening night party Friday 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Show runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, through Nov. 28 (closed Thanksgiving day)

Call: (410) 523-7070.

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