ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bach may reign supreme for Baroque purists, but it’s Vivaldi who fills the seats.
The New Mexico Philharmonic will reflect that popularity with an all-Vivaldi program of two performances of Baroque splendor. The first is scheduled at Rio Rancho’s V. Sue Cleveland High School on Saturday, Nov. 9. The second performance will take place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Sunday, Nov. 10.
The music of Bach focuses strongly on counterpoint and polyphony, as well as kaleidoscope harmonies. Vivaldi’s is instantly more melodic and pleasing in that sunny Italian style of the time.
“I think Vivaldi holds the top spot for audience appeal for the Baroque era,” guest conductor Christopher Confessore said in a telephone interview from Orlando, Fla. “It’s a little more accessible; it’s not as dense.”
The concert’s first half will focus on Vivaldi’s instrumental work with the Concerto Grossi, followed by his Concerto in A minor for Two Violins, featuring New Mexico Philharmonic violinists Sarah Tasker and Gabriela Fogo.
“They’re similar in style,” Confessore said. “My wife, who is a violinist, said, ‘Oh, these are all the hits’.”
“I think people will find them recognizable,” he added.
Vivaldi’s 11-movement Gloria in D Major will comprise the second half, with the addition of soloists and the Coro Lux (“Chorus of Light”) Oratorio Society. The text of the c. 1715 Gloria likely dates to the fourth century.
“You hear the light in this music, both in the faster movements and even in the slow movements,” Confessore said. “The opening of the Gloria is (recognizable) in movies, it permeates throughout pop culture. It becomes part of the subconscious, whether you hear it in the background of films or at brunch.”
The concert will mark Confessore’s “sixth or seventh” appearance with the orchestra.