The Bach Society Orchestra
At Paine Hall
The usefulness of a medium-sized orchestra was ably demonstrated Sunday night in Paine Hall. Since most Baroque and Classical music was written for a group of thirty players or less, Haydn's Symphonies, for example, sound like toys when played by one of our huge Philharmonic organizations. On Sunday, however, his 88th Symphony sounded rich and full when played by the Bach Society Orchestra. Conductor Michael Senturia gave it a passionate but not Romantic interpretation, and kept the Orchestra in his tight conrol at all times.
Another factor in making music come to life is the use of the proper sized auditorium. In Paine Hall, Handel's Concerto Grosso Opus 6 no. 4 was not dwarfed accoustically as it might have been in Sanders Theater. Senturia drove his strings to the kind of relentless rhythm that can make Baroque music so exciting. While the accuracy of the violins was not quite 100 percent, the counterpoint was clear and the pacing excellent.
A novelty on the program was Falla's ballet music El Amor Brujo, the best known section of which is the Ritual Dance of Fire. Based on Spanish folk spirit, Falla's music is exotic, feverish, and sometimes haunting. Soloist Malama Providakes sang with an idiomatic flavor reminiscent of the great contralto Conchita Supervia, with a dark, full-blooded tone. There were several lovely Oboe solos from Cynthia Deery, while the Orchestra as a whole played with both fire and precision.
The greatest compliment that can be paid to Conductor Michael Senturia it that he fully fills the shoes of the Orchestra's departed founder, Michael Greenebaum. Under Senturia's direction, we can expect another year of high achievement from the Bach Society Ochestra.