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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Suite, Music by Georg Philipp Telemann, Johann Sebastian Bach, Jose Elizondo, Anthony R. Green, The Lowell Chamber Orchestra, Orlando Cela


Just what goes with what can be a central aspect of coming up with an illuminating program of music. That's so with The Lowell Chamber Orchestra under Orlando Cela and their recent album entitled The Suite (Navona NV 6324). The central idea is that a chamber orchestra and solo flute(s) can address the multi-movement suite form, that Baroque classics of the genre can compare and contrast with several contemporary Modern tonal analogs.

And the truth is that setting a kind of mutually reflecting historical mirror one against the other gives us some in-depth chances to contemplate being here in the present as well as embracing how humanity has been in a musically astute past--and how it still speaks to us, still matters. 

We get that with a happy and spirited performance of the Telemann "Overture Suite in E minor" which is new to me but a gem nonetheless, performed with a happy zeal. That is followed by Bach and his marvelous "Orchestral Suite No. 2 in B minor," an absolutely ravishing thing played in a gamy, rather Modern fashion, spawning past and preparing the listener for the two Modern-day suites that follow. Now I might have heard more Baroquely exacting performances of this suite, but this approach opens us up to a more comparative way to think about it all, so it fits the context well, and indeed is pure pleasure to hear in any event.

I can't say I know much about our present-day terpsichorians (the latter in the sense that the suites both have like the venerable works a connection with the dance one way or another). With the Jose Elizondo "Recuerdos Estivos (Summer Memories)" and the Anthony E. Green "The Green Double: A Historical Dance Suite," both have a great deal of charm and a very personal slant that is neither directly backward looking nor oblivious to the form and its ancient roots.

"Summer Memories" do seem to fill the air with a kind of halcyonic nostalgia that nonetheless avoid a haze of sentimentality. Nonetheless there is a kind of rhapsodic Romanticism joined to a kind of post-Baroque view that sets it apart nicely.

Anthony R. Green's "Green Double" has an effusive quality as well, but then a bit more delicate a bouquet of sonic sonance. It lingers in the mind as an atmospheric--yet all of it does in its own way. The eleven minute final movement gives us a playful contemporaneity that satisfies and sends us on our way with a smile.

It is a program to take you into the present by way of a retrospected past. Cela and the Lowell Chamber Orchestra bring us a fresh view of where the Suite has been and something of where it seems to be going. Bravo!

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