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Exuberant Choral Concert Closes Baroque Festival

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Closing his 22nd consecutive Baroque Music Festival Corona del Mar, festival founder Burton Karson put together another intriguing choral finale.

This one, given Sunday afternoon in St. Michael and All Angels Church in the beachside community, paired unhackneyed works of J.S. Bach and Vivaldi, joined at the middle by a brief brace of excerpts from a cantata once attributed to Bach but actually written by his predecessor as cantor of the Thomasschule in Leipzig, Johann Kuhnau.

It was a joyful conclusion to the week of music.

Conductor Karson presided over an accomplished choral ensemble numbering 24, with a virtuosic instrumental group of 20. His vocal soloists--soprano Claire Fedoruk, countertenor Joseph Mathieu, tenor Jonathan Mack and baritone Christopher Lindbloom--sang purely, musically and effortlessly.

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Despite limited rehearsal and the momentary musical dysfunctions that can mar performances, the playing and singing of Bach’s “Die Elenden sollen essen” (All the Starving Shall Be Nourished), BWV 75, portions of Kuhnau’s “Uns ist ein Kind geboren” (A Child Is Born to Us), Vivaldi’s joyous “Dixit Dominus” (The Lord Said), RV 595, realized the contagious exuberance in all three pieces of musical devotion.

Fedoruk, joined in one duet in the Vivaldi work by soprano Linda Williams Pearce, delivered all this expressive music with an unfettered tone and an easy clarity.

The male soloists followed her lead, in particular Mathieu, who sang with clarion authority and irrepressible spirits. The three men also joined in a powerful “Gloria Patri” at the high point of the cantata. At the conclusion, conductor Karson shared the bows generously.


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