You Can’t Bring a Cow into the Concertgebouw

September 28, 2017

Have you gotten over it yet?  Some people never have and never will.

Paul McCartney hasn’t been a member of The Beatles for quite some time. In fact, not only did the group disband decades ago, but two members of the Fab Four are no longer with us.

That probably doesn’t seem to make any difference to the disgruntled fans. They’ve never wanted to listen to anything that Paul McCartney did after the Beatles broke up.  Maybe they’re upset by his attempt to rhyme “rock show” with concergebouw (the Dutch word for concert building, the most famous being in Amsterdam and the one for which the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra is named).

For some reason, that came to mind last week with the arrival of a new recording featuring violinist Giuliano Carmignola. No, he’s not Paul McCartney. But he is Giuliano Carmignola. For those who have never heard the name, he’s quite an extraordinary violinist who has specialized in the performance of Baroque music – or music from the time of Bach and Vivaldi, though he has performed a wide range of works in the violin repertoire.

It was his recordings of Vivaldi’s music with the Venice Baroque Orchestra that brought him quite a bit of attention a number of years ago. They came to town back in 2004 to perform the Four Seasons concertos by Vivaldi.  I remember being as excited about the chance to hear him play as I was when I managed to get a ticket to hear Paul McCartney.

Carmignola did not disappoint. Not only was he dazzling in the thunderstorm of the Summer concerto, but mesmerizing in the lyrical moments of that work as well. It was a “Summer” in early February that I will never forget.  For encores that evening – and there were a number of them – he and the orchestra alternated between showstopping and songlike bits of Vivaldi concertos.

Back then we got so used to associating Carmignola with the Venice Baroque Orchestra that it still seems a little unusual when we hear him performing with other musicians. But he was doing that before the years of frequent collaboration with the Venice players and ever since. One nice thing about it is that he introduces us to other ensembles and music we haven’t heard before.

On his newest recording, he’s featured with a group from Milan, Italy known as Accademia dell’Annunciata. Led by violinist Riccardo Doni, they’ve been around only since 2009.  Carmignola and the Academia are featured in a half dozen concertos for violin and orchestra by the 18th century violin virtuoso and composer Felice Giardini, who was born in 1716 in Turin. Last year marked the tricentenary of his birth.

The new recording is titled: An Italian in London (Musica Viva 118). After Giardini made his London debut in 1751, he became active as a violinist, composer and teacher there for over 30 years. He died in Russia in 1796.

So are they launching a world tour to promote the recording? Not as far as I can see from Carmignola’s schedule. But he does have a number of ongoing projects and concerts, including one with the Venice Baroque Orchestra in Bordeaux on September 30th!  If you act quickly, you probably can get a concert and plane ticket!

You laugh. But in case you weren’t aware, some classical music listeners purchase season subscriptions to concert halls and opera houses just to catch a performance by one artist in particular. Or they’ll go out of their way to hear any performer featured in a work by a composer they’re especially fond of – even one who lived centuries ago. They buy complete symphony, concerto and opera collections or multi-CD compilations of their favorite performers. There are more and more classical boxed sets being released with some 100 discs.

I’m not surprised by all of this. I’ve heard the stories of classical music record hunters over the years. I’ve known people whose second home was a concert hall and some who were outgrowing their own homes because of the number of records they owned.

I’ve met a good number of WILL classical music enthusiasts over the years as well. Some listen to no other station. They take it with them whenever and wherever they travel. Our current fund drive is a celebration of sorts of those who are passionate about the classical music on WILL-FM. Just as you see how diehard sports fans dress in their team’s colors and make a lot of noise, we’re hoping WILL-FM listeners will make a lot of noise for classical music – when they’re not listening to it, that is – and make a pledge to help keep it on the radio in our community. Are you one of them? Please contribute today. Call 217-244-9455 or go to willpledge.org.  And thank you for your loyalty and your support!


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