Baroque is in vogue for Oak Park concert

ENCORE—Oak Baroque returns to the Church of the Epiphany in Oak Park for a May 20 performance. Courtesy photo

ENCORE—Oak Baroque returns to the Church of the Epiphany in Oak Park for a May 20 performance. Courtesy photo

Oak Baroque, a professional period instrument ensemble that played to a large audience at the Church of the Epiphany last year, will return with a concert titled “Baroque Titans” at 6 p.m. Sun., May 20 at the church, 5450 Churchwood Drive, Oak Park.

The concert, the final event of the Epiphany Music Guild’s 2017-2018 music series, is open to the public free of charge. Free-will donations to the Music Guild will be accepted.

A reception will take place following the concert.

The program will feature the suite from “Abdelazer” by Henry Purcell, the Harpsichord Concerto in A major by Johann Sebastian Bach, and three string concerti by Antonio Vivaldi, including the popular concerto “alla rustica.”

Purcell is considered the greatest English composer of the 17th century. He created uniquely English baroque music, while incorporating stylistic elements from French and Italian music.

Bach, known in his time as an organist, synthesized German, French and Italian styles into a repertoire that is the summit of the Baroque period.

Vivaldi, a violinist, wrote hundreds of concerti along with operas and choral music. Even though he was influential in his own time—Bach studied his concerti intensely—he was largely forgotten until the 20th century.

Oak Baroque plays using historically-informed performance practices, based upon extensive research into contemporary writings and art describing performances of baroque music.

Period string instruments are strung with gut instead of steel-core strings, yielding a quieter and warmer sound.

Bows are generally light and flexible. String players use far less vibrato than is heard is modern ensembles.

Harpsichord mechanisms cause the strings to be plucked, rather than struck, as with the piano. Because touch cannot affect volume, most harpsichords have multiple keyboards and multiple sets of strings which can be used to vary the sound and volume of the instrument.

Pitch is generally lower than modern pitch, and performers may use tuning schemes that existed before equal temperament became preferred in the late 18th century.

Ornamentation and improvisation play a role also, as the composers expected it of their performers.

The public can also attend a separate Choral Evensong for the Feast of Pentecost at 5 p.m. May 20, one hour prior to the concert. The Epiphany Parish Choir and Schola will lead the service, which includes centuries-old liturgy and music.

For more information, call (818) 991-4797, ext. 26 or visit tcote.org/music/music-guild-events.