Cellist Elinor Frey is the soloist at a Rosa Barocca concert Saturday, May 11, in Red Deer. (Contributed photo).

Red Deer concert will re-create the sounds of the 18th century

Rosa Barocca will perform on baroque instruments May 11 at Gaetz church

Italian baroque music that’s delighted audiences for more than 300 years will resound in Red Deer’s Gaetz Memorial United Church on Saturday, May 11.

The harpsichord, the theorbo (a kind of lute) and old-school violins and cellos with gut-string bows will re-create the mellow sounds of the first half of the 18th century when the Rosa Barocca orchestra performs as part of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra season.

The La Dolce Vita concert will feature Montreal-based soloist Elinor Frey on the five-string cello.

The orchestra’s music director, Claude Lapalme, who also conducts Calgary-based Rosa Barocca, calls Frey “the go-to-gal” for coaxing “clean, bright” notes from the rare baroque instrument that sounds higher than the standard four-string cello.

Frey is not only the Canadian specialist on the five-string instrument, she’s a fantastic player, said Lapalme, who believes it will be a rare treat for the audience to hear her.

The Seattle-native will play Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Cellos with orchestra cellist Janet Kuschak.

This energetic work is “very easy to listen to, very decorative and melodic,” said Lapalme, who noted Vivaldi and other Italian composers often wrote for the voice, so they also created hum-able instrumental tunes.

Juno Award-nominated Frey will also solo on a meaty work by Neapolitan composer Leonardo Leo.

The 15 Rosa Barocca musicians will tackle a handful of short three-movement pieces written by a variety of other composers from Naples, including a concerti grossi by Alissandro Scarlatti.

Lapalme said this involves a string section of musicians “completing” musically with three soloists who are playing other kinds of instruments.

The baroque melody requires the strings and the soloists to play a friendly game of musical one-upmanship, he added with a chuckle.

Baroque music continues to be a favourite with today’s audiences, because “it’s not meant to impress. It’s not meant to overwhelm. It’s meant to delight,” said Lapalme — and continues to do so.

Tickets to the 8 p.m. concert are available from the Black Knight Ticket Centre.


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