Saturday, January 10, 2009

Baroque Music

My composer son and I attended a concert by a local baroque chamber orchestra. The venue was a small Episcopalian church of traditional design. It seemed very fitting to me to hear music of centuries past as we sat at the front of the nave surrounded by stone arches that would have seemed familiar to Telemann or Handel. We sat in the second row of pews, close enough to hear every articulation of the strings, recorder, baroque flute (traverso), harpsichord, and baroque bassoon.

The baroque bassoon was a special delight. The instrument produced a sweeter, softer tone than its modern counterpart, although it could emit a yelp or a throaty growl as needed. The craftsmanship was impressive. The baroque bassoon resembled an elegantly sculpted bedpost with a peculiar brass tube projecting out. A convenient place to hang one's shirt before climbing into bed perhaps.