The name "Concertos by Candlelight" might conjure up subdued sounds watched by shadowy figures in the flickering illumination.
But it was an exuberant crowd — matched by exciting music — at Friday night's concert, part of the 78th annual Bach Festival in
The evening was devoted to Mozart and things began briskly with the famed "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik." Perhaps its first movement, the Allegro, is too famous: Listening to the festival orchestra's lovely lightness, I found myself picturing a chic party, cocktails being sipped, perhaps some subtle flirting near the punch bowl. No doubt, the fanciful notion was due to hearing the Allegro as background music in too many movies.
Yet the audience around me was enraptured, too — bursting into applause at the end of the movement, an almost shocking occurrence as classical-music etiquette dictates holding applause until all movements in a work are complete.
Could patrons have forgotten there was more to come? The subsequent movements also were buoyed by that lightness of touch — an attribute shared with soloist Gloria Cook, whose fingers fleetly flew through Piano Concerto No. 21.
Precise but never mechanical, Cook began the piece with head bowed over the keys. Her posture didn't relax until she hit the first grand trill that sends the work on its way. Her timing with the orchestra made me suspect a psychic connection with conductor John Sinclair, the Bach Festival Society's artistic director.
R.J. Kelley was soloist for Mozart's Horn Concerto No. 4, giving his instrument an almost mournful sound in the first movement when contrasted against the flurry of strings behind him.
And again, with both soloists, that applause between movements.
Julia Foster sang Mozart's "Exsultate, Jubilate," her coloratura growing warmer throughout until it burst forth with a joyous "Alleluia, alleluia."
The voices of the Bach Festival Youth Choir, directed by Devon Kincaid, blended beautifully on a Nocturne and the "Papageno-Papagena" duet from "The Magic Flute."
Yes, there was a lot of extraneous applause — but it was well-deserved.
• Online: bachfestivalflorida.org
• What: The 78th annual Bach Festival, a series of classical-music performances
• When: Through March 3
• Upcoming concerts: The "Concertos by Candlelight" program repeats at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23. "Titans in C: Mozart, Beethoven and Haydn," featuring three jubilant works in the key of C major will be at 7:30 p.m. March 2. "Bach's Timeless Gifts," works by the composer never before presented by the Bach Festival Society, will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 3.
• Tickets: $25-$65