Violinist Philippe Quint and the Lake Forest Symphony’s strings led by Vladimir Kulenovic dispelled any image that listeners might have had that Baroque music is sedate or boring.
Playing last weekend first Lake Forest Academy’s Cressey Center for the Performing Arts and then at the College of Lake County’s James Lumber Center for the Performing Arts, Quint introduced concert goers to Baroque works by playing Johan Adolph Hasse’s melodic “Sinfonia” with dramatic and joyous gusto. Although Hesse is arguably better known for operatic works, his “Sinfonia” interpreted by Quint showed that Baroque could be both exuberant and elegant.
To educate the audience on the difference between a shorter, differently constructed bow used for Baroque music and the sound that emanates when a violinist uses the classical longer bow, Kulenovic had concert master Netanel Draiblate play the next piece, Arcagelo Corelli’s “La Folia” on one side of the podium and Quint do his bowing on the other side.
The piece used was the 1729 Francisco Geminiani edition which was perfect for the demonstration since there are solos for two violins and also the viola and cello.
The Baroque education continued with Tomaso Antonio Vitali’s “Chaconne in G minor with the recommendation to listen for the organ. But what really drew the audience’s attention was Quint’s passionate interpretation.
Of course no Baroque program is complete without something by Johann Sebastian Bach. In this case it was his “Air in D Major” from his Orchestral Suite #3 which reminded the audience how perfectly the harpsichord fitted the piece’s melodic musings.
Quint continued his remarkable showmanship in the second half with Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” from Op. 8. Really for concertos for violin and strings, they are tone poems whose sounds evoke birds in spring, other animals and breezes in summer, harvest celebrations and hunting in autumn and running, stamping feet and chattering teeth in howling storms in winter.
But along with the descriptive parts already in Vivaldi’s music, Quint used the concertos to add several embellishments. Some seemed planned ahead while others appeared to be impromptu.
The concert turned out to be a delightful survey of baroque music, a powerful introduction to the high quality of the Lake Forest Symphony under Kulenovic and an unforgettable demonstration of Quint’s artistry. This reviewer will be looking for more programs featuring Philippe Quint.
Reviewed by Jodie Jacobs for ChicagoTheaterAndArts.com