The Struggle of Harmony and Invention

November 6, 2014 10:36 PM

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Timed for Halloween, with its period instrument musicians sporting masks and witches hats, and a program featuring Tartini's Devil's Trill, the Handel and Haydn Society (known affectionately as H+H) kicked off its Bicentennial season with great festivity last week. The undisputed star of the evening was the amazing violinist Aisslin Nosky, who directed the almost all Vivaldi programme from the first stand -- that prop appropriately adorned with devil's horns. For me, the performance made a powerful statement about all that is exciting, unique and important about the Early Music, or, perhaps more accurately, the historically informed performance movement. And it raised, once again, the question of what has happened to this movement in the U.S. and abroad. But more about that later.

The concert was a joy from start to finish. Aisslinn is not just a gifted Baroque violinist playing with true style and power, but a great performer and communicator whose energy and passion for the music set the audience alight. She reminded me of the great mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli in the way ...

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