* Notes *
A friend of mine, harpsichordist and organist Vince Ho, is having a concert series at St. Alban's over in Albany, CA. The latest installment was yesterday's "Cantatas, Songs, and Arias from the Time of the English Restoration and the Glorious Revolution." The music performed was from the time of Charles Stuart's exile in Europe and his reign as Charles II. Vince's approach on the organ was straightforward, blunt even. The soprano, Stefanie Renee Wetter, has a very clear, bright voice. In the two Giacomo Carissimi pieces, "Filli non t'amo più" and "Lamento di Maria Stuarda," Wetter's voice bordered on overly sweet, like a mouthful of sugar. Her volume was good, though her breathing was occasionally noticeable and there was the tiniest amount of strain at the top of her range.
The second half included several pieces from Purcell's The Fairy Queen, which Wetter sang beautifully, coming off as much less cloying. She has a fine control of her vibrato and good diction, and she sang "Ye Gentle Spirits of the Air" particularly well. The harpsichord was not exactly in tune, but it had just come from the UK and is adjusting to the climate, one imagines. The playing did sound a bit labored as a result. The encore was the lovely "Endless Pleasure" from Semele.
* Tattling *
There was scattered chatter from the audience, and they did applaud too early for William Gregory's Suite in D minor. At least there were no electronic sounds whatsoever.