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Happy Days for Baroque Music Fans

Two nearby summer series showcasing Baroque music give us the chance to discover the intricacies and varieties of this popular music period, which lasted from about 1600 to 1750. Interestingly, Baroque music was forgotten for a while, until the 19th-century Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn revived an interest in it, particularly in Bach, as part of the century’s growing obsession with looking to the past for inspiration. By the 1800s, Baroque had started to take hold. The Handel and Haydn Society of Boston was the first formal music association in America. Although it is difficult to describe Baroque music in a single way, it is usually characterized by transparency, overlapping and interweaving lines, the use of musical ornament, and a heavy reliance on dance forms. So-called Classical-Romantic music, which overtook it in the latter part of the 18th century, was more overtly emotional and narrative in quality. The Northwest Music Association enters its sixth summer of midweek concerts at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Salisbury. The concerts feature the New England Baroque Soloists. Highlights of the four weeks of programs include music for two horns and strings (in Week 1), with a rarely heard Beethoven sextet and works by Telemann and Bach; a Bach organ piece (Week 2) performed by the organist of Coventry Cathedral, England; a concerto by Vivaldi (Week 3); and a Piano Quartet by Mozart (Week 4). The concerts take place Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on July 20 and 27, and Aug. 3 and 10. Donations are accepted at the door. For information, call 860-435-9290. Last weekend, the Berkshire-based Baroque duo Les Inégales — Christine Gevert, harpsichord, and Rodrigo Tarraza, traverso (transverse flute) — played the opening concert of a new regional music site, the Spectrum Playhouse of the Berkshire Visual & Performing Arts Center in Lee, MA. The series continues with three more concerts in the summer (and six more in the fall and winter). This Saturday, July 9, will feature works of Corelli, Handel, Telemann; on July 16, Gevert will play organ music by Frescobaldi, Buxtehude, Bach, and others; and a concert on Aug. 7, will be devoted to court music of Versailles, with guest viola da gamba player Anne Lêgene. All concerts are at 5 p.m. and are free, but with a suggested $15 donation. For information, go to www.gobaroque.org, or call 860-596-4019.

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