In Santander (the city where I am at present while working on Part 5), there is one musical event held every year, the Encuentro de Música y Academia. Its focus is not on early music though—if anything, it would be on variety, as it includes music from Baroque to the latest 21st century works. My search had to be through the internet. After a (too) long time to decide, I opted for A Baroque Feast, celebrated in June this year by the Charlotte Chapter of the American Guild of Organists (check their website)

A Baroque Feast

The instrumentation was a chamber organ, a full organ, a string quartet, two trumpets, an oboe, bass drums (tuned to the 5th) and a full choir, divided in two parts on both sides of the stage. There were two solo singers, one male (I think his register was between a bass and a baritone) and a soprano. The tuning is either not well tempered or the players are not always in tune (which includes the solo singer)

Technically, I find the recording of the video to be close to a professional one, with good illumination and showing the musicians from a variety of angles. Unlike what the inter-amateur-net is accustoming us to, there is no shaky camera. On the other hand, they could have indicated in the video or in the comments what the names of the composers and/or the titles of the pieces were. The male solo singer (a baritone?) is not well heard  in his lower register—this may not be a technical problem of the recording, though. In fact, I find it is a problem for many singers anyway.

As for the music, the part with the solo singer and the string quartet  feels long and, after several minutes, uninteresting musically (for me): it is over 20 minutes with too little variation. I find the concert would have benefitted more from a different approach: the resources on stage where not that much used (singers sitting idle for 20 minutes?). Also, young audiences today are used to shorter chunks of information. Surely it would not do any damage to learn to  listen to longer pieces, but there is still the idle singers…

The third section (or what I think it is) started in minute 35. The choir seems to sing with more enthusiasm than ability (aren’t they at points off beat?). It continues with a slow second movement that suits the choir capacity much better.

There is a fugato section towards minute 49 (an Allelujah), starting from the bass singers, with the accompaniment of strings and organ. I like fugatos, so this is a part that is clear to me and the most enjoyable so far.

Towards minute 52, a piece starts with the church organ, the cello and one of the trumpets. This mostly homophonic piece offers a nice contrast to the previous, polyphonic one. It is slow but not long—yet it continues with a solo organ section that do not seem to provide anything new, on the contrary, is a lighter version of the previous trio.

In the soprano piece, the strings definitely sound out of tune, rather than tuned in an alternative fashion. Approximately on timing 1h00′, there is a piece that seems to start antiphonally to me (one choir against the other one), albeit accompanied by the strings and trumpets at one point or another. This is much more interesting than most of what has sounded so far.

I have too many words already, so let me summarize:

Performers: it is good that they are enthusiastic about what they do. No irony. If we want people to like what we do, we should start by showing we like it too.

Music: not the best choice of pieces for the musicians taking part in it.

Response to some pieces: see above. Some were my cup of tea, some were not enjoyable at all.