Spreading Baroque Music’s Joys
A preview by Marc Shulgold
Maybe Frank Nowell’s Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado should work out an arrangement of the Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere.” That tune pretty much describes where the group will perform during its 12th season, which kicks off on October 13-15, 2017.
A quick glance at the line-up reveals 16 concerts in 11 different venues. For Nowell, BCOC’s artistic director and harpsichordist, it’s merely a way to spread the joy of the music his group has expertly been performing since its founding in 2005.
“We’re always thinking about venues,” he says. “Even if we had a main home, we’d want to play at other sites.”
Nowell expresses excitement about the BCOC’s appearances in the newly revamped Central Presbyterian Church, including a Saturday date during opening weekend. But doesn’t all that packing of instruments and traveling to various venues with various acoustics present a series of headaches? Not particularly, the unflappable musician replies.
“We might take different tempos in different halls,” he observes, especially when the ensemble performs Bach’s six “Brandenburg” Concertos at four different sites in mid-May: “That will present new challenges in the placement of the winds.” Since BCOC is primarily a string orchestra, integrating all those added instruments might present another problem. Again, Nowell is unconcerned. “They’re our musical cousins, who’ve all played with us over the years,” he says of the guests handling Baroque period oboes, horns, recorders, bassoon and trumpet, as required in the “Brandenburgs.”
Reprising “The Glories of Venice,” a program offered in the group’s third season, Nowell and company will open the season assisted by a different group of guests – 12 vocalists. “These are all singers with an early-music savvy,” he notes. “They get the style.” The dozen voices will join in performances of works by Monteverdi, who shares the bill with Vivaldi, another maverick rule-breaker, according to BCOC’s director.
Future programs include an instrumental holiday concert at St. Luke’s in Highlands Ranch; two performances titled “Arcangelo’s Circle,” focusing on the Baroque concerto grosso popularized by Arcangelo Corelli (“repertory we love the most,” Nowell points out), and “The Muse Project,” a pair of evenings mixing the spoken word with music, in collaboration with the Lighthouse Writers Workshop and Stories on Stage.
It looks like yet another intriguing season from Nowell’s talented Baroque specialists. Adding to his excitement at the music they’ll be playing is the recent addition of Molly McCray-Finke as executive director, relieving Nowell of that administrative title. Now he can focus solely on the music, and on BCOC’s future. “Molly’s already had a great impact, offering some new ideas,” he says. “And I’m working on a 10-year vision for the group.” Perhaps the words of another Beatles song should be considered: “It’s getting better all the time.”
The Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado will open its 12th season with The Glories of Venice at
7:30 p.m. Friday, October 13 in St. Andrew Methodist Church, 9203 S. University Blvd., Highlands Ranch
7:30 p.m. Saturday, October 14 in Central Presbyterian Church, 1660 Sherman St.
3 p.m. Sunday, October 15 in Bethany Lutheran Church, 4500 E. Hampden Ave.
Information on these and other scheduled concerts: bcocolorado.org.