The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra debuted in 2015. They play music written before and during the 18th century on instruments of that time. Most of the musicians have a common link of having studied at the Jacob School of Music of Indiana University in Bloomington or playing with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. This is apparent by how harmoniously they play together.
On June 21 the orchestra performed at the Miller Chapel of the Princeton Theological Seminary. Baroque orchestras use period instruments that are unlike their modern-day counterparts. The string instruments are strung with catgut that gives them a lighter texture. The Princeton Festival Baroque Orchestra used these, as well as a harpsichord, violone (an early form of the double bass) and theorbo (string instrument with a long neck and rounded body with a flat front).
As concertmaster, Juan Carlos Zamudio led the orchestra with precision. They were able to capture the essence of the works and the performances had a powerful sound. Gregory Geehern exuded such joy through the harpsichord. The orchestra played such rich tones and it all flowed so smoothly. Each violin had a distinct voice and the music touched my soul. The Oboe and Violin Concerto in C minor is probably one of the most beautiful pieces Bach has written and was played with such passion. Soprano Paloma Friedhoff Bello’s solo from Giulio Cesare, HWV 17 by Handel revealed her amazing vocal range to an astounded audience. She was a tour de force. Absolutely beautiful renditions of each piece were played. I gained a new gratitude for the subtleties in Baroque music and the demands of staying on point with the technique of the era.
The program was a proper throwback to the Baroque period and not to be missed! The Coral Concert with Baroque Orchestra is performing on Saturday, June 24th at 5 PM at the Miller Chapel if you’d like the opportunity to witness this magnificent ensemble of talented musicians.
The program included
- Concerto di Viole (Concerto Grosso) in D major by Alessandro Stradella (1639 – 1682)
- Concerto Grosso in B minor, HWV 330 by George Frideric Handel (1685 – 1759)
- From Giulio Cesare, HWV 17 by Handel featuring soprano Paloma Friedhoff Bello
- Oboe and Violin Concerto in C minor, BWV 1060 by Johan Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750)
- “Concerto Polonois” in G major, TWV 43:G7 by Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767)
- Symphony, op. 5, no. 6 in G minor by Johann Adolph Hasse (1699 – 1783)
Juan Carlos Zamudio, concertmaster