Marco Cera (oboe, baroque guitar & ciaramella)
Our rehearsals were a creative process where we had to figure out how the two ensembles could work together, starting from "how to share the stage" (jammed with chitarra battente, mandolino, ciaramella, tammorre, chitarrone e colascione) to "how to play along" and how to smoothly connect each "set" of music. It is a pleasure to see that my talented colleagues are having fun experimenting with new things, playing on top of Ben Grossman's spirited-hot tambourin grooves while trying to follow the complicated texts in Neapolitan dialect!
Violinist Chris Verrette completely transformed himself into a fiddler from Salento, fitting the style magnificently. Bravissimo!
Regarding the more "academic" compositions in our Bella Napoli programme: Jeanne Lamon and Lucas Harris did a great job researching and choosing gorgeous works from both well-known, and more obscure Neapolitan composers of the 1700s: Concerti Grossi from Alessandro Scarlatti and Francesco Durante, the Cailò sonata for three violins and finally Leonardo Leo's virtuosic Cello concerto, superbly performed by principal cellist Christina Mahler.
I feel fortunate to have a chance to "strum" some chords on my guitar during the awesome Symphonies and Arias, learning more and more about continuo practice. On the other hand I feel sorry for my oboe; this week it will rest in the closet, whispering softly "...I wanna play, Marco, traditore, that's my job!..Put that guitar down..."
After the first concert, the feedback I have gotten not only from the audience but especially from Tafelmusik players has been terrific. I'm starting to think that southern Italian music is not touching me alone, but by some mysterious alchemy or for some primitive reason is reaching everyone.
It seems as if it's impossible for my Tafelmusik colleagues not to spontaneously join in a dance move, to strum or sing along during some ritornelli, or smile and laugh at Francesco's vocal melismas or body moves. Watching violinist Julia Wedman, totally absorbed by the groove and rhythm, it seems she is the one that was bitten by a tarantula... I can only hope that the music is also the antidote!!
If you missed your chance to see Bella Napoli at Trinity-St. Paul's, the programme will be repeated October 16 at 8pm at the Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts. Click here for more information.