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Figueroa group, choirs join for Baroque gems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Five musical jewels will be performed in a Feb. 2 concert titled “Gems of the Baroque.”

Perhaps the brightest of the gems is J.S. Bach’s “Magnificat.”

Guillermo Figueroa is the artistic director of The Figueroa Music and Arts Project, which will present a concert next Sunday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Guillermo Figueroa is the artistic director of The Figueroa Music and Arts Project, which will present a concert next Sunday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

“It’s one of the great choral works, though it’s relatively short. … But that is sort of what we built everything around,” said Guillermo Figueroa, artistic director of the Figueroa Music and Arts Project. “There are pieces like this that I always wanted to do.”

The Figueroa Project’s chamber orchestra and the choirs of the Cathedral Church of St. John will perform in concert at the cathedral, which Figueroa said is an excellent setting for the choral work.

Soloists in the “Magnificat” are soprano Szilvia Schranz, mezzo-soprano Sarah Weiler, tenor Jason Vest and baritone Edmund Connolly.

Works by four other Baroque composers also are on the program. One is Antonio Vivaldi’s “Concerto for Three Violins.”

“This is a great piece. It’s beautiful and very virtuosic,” Figueroa said.

The three violinists are Figueroa, David Felberg and Sarah Tasker.

Another work is one of Arcangelo Corelli’s Concerti Grossi. Figueroa said he chose “a bright, happy Concerto Grosso, not mellow. I just picked one that would fit with the occasion and not interfere with what goes afterwards.”

George Frideric Handel’s Organ Concerto, Opus 4 No. 3 also is on the program. The Handel will feature Maxine Thévenot, the cathedral’s director of music, on organ.

“It’s so wonderful to have such a phenomenal player and a terrific organ at the church,” Figueroa said. “That’s why this program made so much sense. I don’t know if the concerto has ever been played in Albuquerque.”

The fifth work is Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass.”

Figueroa said that Haydn wrote the work at the age of 17 and “it shows the promise of things to come.”

The concert is part of the Friends of Cathedral Music Series.

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