* Notes *
Voices of Music opens the 2011-2012 season with delightful concerts that feature tenor Thomas Cooley (pictured left, photograph by Michael Schilhansl) this weekend in the Bay Area. At Saturday's San Francisco performance the small ensemble consisted of only five musicians: Lisa Grodin (violin), Carla Moore (violin), Elizabeth Reed (viola da gamba), David Tayler (archlute), and Hanneke van Proosdij (organ, harpsichord, and recorder). The program began with John Blow's rather apropos "Welcome, welcome, e'vry guest." All the other pieces that followed were from Purcell. Cooley sang "If music be the food of love," "If love's a sweet passion," "Now That the Sun Hath Veiled His Light," "Strike the viol," "See, see my many colour'd fields," "Musick for a while," "Fly, swift, ye hours," "Oh! Fair Cedaria," and "Fairest Isle." This was, of course, interspersed with instrumental music, in this case seven more Purcell pieces. Cooley's voice is bright and pretty. His diction is clear and easily comprehensible. The playing never detracted from his voice, and was precise throughout. The violins were especially lively, even strident when necessary. The encore was "Strike the viol."
* Tattling *
The audience was silent and no electronic noise was noted. A service dog in the front row would stand up and wag its tail whenever there was applause.