Seems a lot has been happening at my old church since I left it (over 8 years ago now!). St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, well known in Atlanta for hosting an Olde English Festival for nearly 20 years, has one of the most acoustically-splendid sanctuaries in the city. It also has a fine organ, which was built in part by edstauff, husband of the wonderful folkmew. Well, in recent years St. Bart’s has become the home base of the New Trinity Baroque, an up-and-coming ensemble that was founded in London in 1998 (its first concert was at St. Martin-in-the-Fields) but moved to Atlanta shortly thereafter. It is still very much an international ensemble, with a Yugoslavian artistic director and a British music director; it is the ensemble in residence at Emory University’s Oxford College and the affiliate ensemble at Georgia State University’s School of Music. But they’re also St. Barts’ ensemble in residence, with their entire 2005-6 Atlanta concert season occurring at the church.
I found out about the NTB by accident; I was listening to our local NPR station and they announced they were giving away tickets to a Vivaldi/Corelli concert this weekend. And yes, I won the tickets. Delighted to discover that the concert was taking place in a sonically-magnificent venue that I helped finance (!), my wife and I scrambled to buy a third ticket (for our daughter). So the concert was last night. It featured four concerti from Vivaldi’s L’Estro Armonico and three from Corelli’s Concerti Grossi. All performed on period instruments. Need I say that it was a fantastic program? The music crackled and danced with a delightful energy; the mostly-young performers literally glowed with an infectious enthusiasm. Prior to last night I was only moderately familiar with L’Estro Armonico and was not at all familiar with the Corelli concerti; but my lack of knowledge of the music did not at all inhibit my sense of wonder and enjoyment of the performance.
If you love Baroque, I think the New Trinity Baroque is an ensemble to watch. Aside from their six concerts in Atlanta, they perform about 25 nights a year in other cities, so keep an eye out for them. And to my Atlanta readers, here’s a treat: on November 12 the NTB will be performing Vivaldi’s much-loved The Four Seasons at St. Bart’s.