|Aeris is focused on music of the Italian baroque.|
So, the centerpiece of Friday's program was the cantata Dietro l'orme fuggaci, "Armida abbandonata," a quasi-dramatic teeter-totter of recitative and aria — seven parts in all.
|Nell Snaidas came through, despite a recent vocal crisis.|
Aspects of the later Handel were burgeoning in Dietro l'orme fuggaci. There is his instinctive skill for boosting the dramatic impact of a vocal line in the accompaniment without its getting in the way, for example. There is also the impact he often created out of vigorous instrumental/vocal partnership in the subgenre of the "rage aria."
The emotion of "Winds, stay! No, do not drown him! It is true that he has betrayed me, but still I love him!" may not be rage, exactly, but Armida's desperate appeal, practically a command, comes close. And this aria was a highlight of Friday's performance.
Leader Avi Stein's playing was buoyant and precise throughout, and cellist William Skeen consistently displayed beautiful, rounded phrasing. Tempo coordination within the trio was unfailing.
Weaver added rhythmic elan on baroque guitar in a chaconne by Nicola Matteis, who like Handel, was to make much of his career in England. This piece made a great conclusion to the concert's first half, thanks to the lively, well-turned virtuosity of Zachary Carrettin.
Based on his account of a sonata by the prolific Francesco Maria Veracini, Carrettin's manner of playing baroque violin and the pastel timbre he gets from it will be contrasted at the end of the festival with the appearance of Rachel Barton Pine, who has just issued with Trio Settecento the complete Veracini Op. 2 sonatas on three discs. Her tone in this set is more assertive and brighter; there will be no Veracini in her two concerts here, but comparisons to Carrettin should offer fascinating insights into the interpretive breadth with which Roman chamber music of almost 300 years ago can be represented today.