Texas Camerata celebrated its 25th anniversary Sunday evening with a wide-ranging program focused on about a hundred years of the High Baroque and Early Classical periods.
As usual, artistic director Kristin Van Cleve came up with some attractive music by composers who are little known except to specialists. Better-known masters were also represented.
Texas Camerata is an early-music ensemble devoted to musical practices of the past and instruments from olden days — or replicas of them.
Members performing Sunday evening in Trinity Episcopal Church were, in addition to violinist Van Cleve, Ellen Lovelace on violin; Donna Hall on viola; Karen Hall on cello and viola da gamba; Lee Lattimore and Dolores August on flute; Kevin Hall on bassoon; Adam Gordon on trumpet; and Robert August on harpsichord.
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One of the most appealing works of the evening was a movement from a concerto for flute, string quartet and harpsichord by Franz Benda, who was a couple of generations older than Mozart though he lived into the time of Mozart’s greatest mastery. The concerto was brisk and joyous, with some lovely music for the flute (Dolores August was the soloist).
One substantial piece by a well known composer was a work by Georg Philipp Telemann for two flutes, cello, bassoon and harpsichord. The Camerata players gave it a winning performance; especially attractive were its vivace and largo movements (there were four movements in all).
One work on the program is known by thousands if not millions of people who care little or nothing about the Baroque. This is Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major — yes, that Pachelbel’s Canon.
Other composers of the evening were Johann Heinrich Schmelzer, Marin Marais, Domenico Gabrielli, Antonio Vivaldi and Richard Mudge.
Mudge, an Englishman active around the middle of the 18th century, was represented by a Trumpet Concerto in D Major. It’s a majestic piece that sounds kind of Handelian, as one might expect of Mudge’s time and place.
The closest the evening came to the mainstream was a Vivaldi Concerto in D Major for flute, violin and continuo. It was, as usual, spirited, toe-tapping music garnished with a lovely andante.