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Gabrieli and Bach

At Sanders

By Bertram Baldwin

The Radcliffe Freshman Chorus, the Harvard Freshman Glee Club, and the Bach Society Orchestra performed Gabrieli and Bach Sunday afternoon in Sanders Theater. A brass choir under the direction of Michael Senturia played the "Sonata Piane Forte," from Sacrae Symphoniae (1597), by Giovanni Gabrieli, and then chorus and orchestra joined in performing Bach's Magnificat in D, conducted by Allen Miller. The Gabrieli went well, with very few of those bloopers which are the bane of brass playing. The contrasts, "pian e forte," intended by the composer could have been brought out more effectively.

The playing and singing in the Magnificat were generally of high quality. The vocal soloists, Lee Calder, Dorothy Crawford, Sarah Jane Smith, Thomas Beveridge, and Karl Sorensen all gave musicianly readings of the arias, duet, and trio. At times there was not sufficient balance between soloist and orchestra, as often the result of too soft singing as too loud playing. Dorothy Crawford, in particular, could not seem to muster enough volume. There were also instances of imbalance between chorus and orchestra, caused mainly by the great army of tenors and basses that filled the stage.

Several instrumental soloists distinguished themselves, among them: flutists, Sue Alder and Cynthia Crane in the "Et misericordia" and "Esurientes" sections, and Michael Senturia, who played the oboe obligato during the soprano aria, "Quia respexit." The string section as a whole produced remarkably good intonation and tone quality. It is not surprising that the chorus was not quite up to the caliber of the orchestra since the singers were all freshmen. An unfortunate case of extreme flatting occured in the course of the woman's chorus "Suscepit Israel."

Flaws were seldom of this magnitude, however, and were never great enough to destroy the very musical and energetic total effect. The audience gave such an ovation that the first chorus was repeated.

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