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Classical View: Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra begins 41st season with “Valley Vivaldi”

The Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, with Paul Chou, Music Director and Conductor, begins its 41st season with “Valley Vivaldi,” 7 p.m. June 23, Christ Lutheran Church, Allentown, with a wonderful array of classical works by Handel, Biber, Telemann and Bach.

The program opens with Georg Friederich Handel’s colorful “Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 6 in G minor,” HWV 324, featuring violin soloists Inna Eyzerovich and Stephani Bell.

Composed in 1739, each of the five movements is of unique character and quality. From the opening relatively dark “Larghetto e affettuoso” to the final dance-like “Allegro,” the beautiful third movement “Musette” is as popular today as it was in Handel’s time, often played as a solo piece.

The next work is the 1669 whimsical composition “Sonata Representativa for violin and basso continuo” by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber.

The work is highly programmatic, creating musical representations of several animals (nightingale, cuckoo, frog, hen and cat) and even incorporates a musketeer’s march. Soloists are PSO Concertmaster Simon Maurer, Baroque violin; Noelle Grand, cello, and Gabriel Benton, harpsichord.

The program’s first half concludes with recorder soloists Rainer Beckman and Gwyn Roberts in Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Trio Sonata in B-flat Major for two recorders and basso continuo.” The work is based on Bach’s popular “Sonata in G Major for two flutes and basso continuo,” BWV 1039, composed between 1739-1741.

After intermission, the concert continues with Georg Philipp Telemann’s “Viola Concerto in G Major,” TWV 51: G 9, composed circa 1716-1721, featuring PSO Principal Violist Agnès Maurer. Typical of Telemann’s concerti, the piece consists of four movements, all related to the Italian ritornello form: “Largo, Allegro, Andante, Presto.”

The finale is Johann Sebastian Bach’s 1721 joyful, buoyant and virtuosic “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4 in G Major,” BWV 1049.

The first movement “Allegro” has attention focused on violinist Maurer while the recorder duo of Beckman and Roberts are most prominent in the second movement “Andante.” The final movement “Presto” begins with a fugue initiated by the violas while the solo violin interjects passages of virtuosity.

Says Concertmaster Simon Maurer, “No words really can describe the joy and peace of this work. It is also devilishly hard for the solo violin in certain sections. Not to be missed.”

“Valley Vivaldi,” Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra, 7 p.m. June 23, Christ Lutheran Church, 1245 Hamilton St., Allentown, Tickets: at the door; Pennsylvania Sinfonia Orchestra office, 1524 W. Linden St., Allentown; 610-434-7811; https://www.pasinfonia.org/

“Eight Decades of Tony Awards,”

Pioneer Band of Allentown, 7:30 p.m. June 23, West Park, 16th and Linden streets, Allentown. Free

“Classical View” is a column about classical music concerts, conductors and performers. To request coverage, email: Paul Willistein, Focus editor, pwillistein@tnonline.com

Agnès Maurer
Inna Eyzerovich
Rainer Beckman