Tag Archives: Antonio Vivaldi

Concert notes: Rachael Price, Vivaldi

Two short notes on recent concerts:

Jazz singer Rachael Price is just 23, but judging by her performance Saturday night in Boca Raton, she already has the instincts and perseverance of a road veteran.

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Price, a Boston-based singer who just earned a jazz studies degree at the New England Conservatory of Music, appeared at the tiny Willow Theatre in Boca’s Sugar Sand Park with a substitute pianist in her backing trio while clearly battling a cold that occasionally robbed her of volume and smooth register shifts.

Yet she did a fine job, giving good readings of a handful of standards from the Great American Songbook. The majority of her two sets — which included You Go to My Head, Skylark, I Love You Madly, Let’s Build a Stairway to the Stars — are featured on her newest album, The Good Hours. Bassist Erik Privert and drummer David Brophy were a tight unit, and Privert had to do double duty as bandleader, cuing in guest pianist Sergio Salvatore, who was reading from charts most of the night in the absence of Price’s usual pianist and vibraphonist, Warren Wolf.

Price has a powerful, somewhat deep, often sexy voice that sometimes can overblow, rolling out a bit too much lungpower in things such as the rideout of The Trolley Song, but that’s what the weather’s like at the intersection of today’s popular singing styles and that of the past. She has a chatty, friendly stage presence, sharing a family story  before singing Serenade in Blue, and confessing to being hung up on someone before doing a moody take on That Old Feeling.

The high point for me, and apparently for the rest of the half-full house at the Willow, was a duet with Salvatore on My Romance, the Rodgers-Hart beauty from 1935. Salvatore began with a slow, sculptured series of Debussy-style chords and Price floated in with an unmannered, pure interpretation of this lovely Rodgers tune and classic Hart lyric. Words like these can be hard to relate to for younger people, Price told the audience afterward, but that they seemed so right and meaningful as she sang them was “testimony to the power of music.”

Quite so. Sources tell me the veteran arranger and composer Sammy Nestico is working on an album for Price, and here’s hoping My Romance is among the charts. Here’s also hoping she’s able to come back to these parts sometime soon, and  in full vocal health — though if she isn’t, you can bet she’ll soldier on anyway.

Viva Vivaldi: On Sunday afternoon, I went over to St. Paul’s for the Camerata del Re’s all-Vivaldi concert (except for one piece by Chedeville), and wrote about it for the South Florida Classical Review (read it here).

As I mention, the tuning problems the group faced were considerable, but I did want to note also that the current lineup of concerts for St. Paul’s is deeper and more ambitious than series in past years, and that’s to be applauded.  Keith Paulson-Thorp is a fine musician and an engaging scholar who promises to bring ambitious and interesting programming to the Delray Beach church, and this is a series well worth watching.

In fact, a benefit concert for two St. Paul’s children’s charities has been announced for 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6. The young Italian harpsichordist Chiara Massini will perform works by J.S. Bach (including the Goldberg Variations), Alessandro Scarlatti, Johann Jacob  Froberger and Francois Couperin. Here’s a chance to hear music from the earlier centuries of keyboard tradition before the piano conquered all.

Froberger and Couperin, for instance, had huge influence on the development of keyboard playing and compostion in the German and French lands, respectively, and this great music isn’t heard in our concert halls often enough. (Tickets for the Massini concert are $20 and $35 and can be reserved by calling St. Paul’s at 278-6003 or going to the church Website. Thus endeth my plug.)

For the weekend: ‘Elijah,’ jazz, Vivaldi and organ music

The classical season hereabouts is heating up, and here are the things I’m thinking about seeing:

Tonight: The Master Chorale of South Florida introduces its new director, Joshua Habermann, in a performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah. It’s been a long time since I’ve heard a full performance of this oratorio, and I’m looking forward to it. The Mendelssohn bicentenary next year hopefully will bring some other serious Mendelssohn to the fore.

Saturday: Rachael Price, jazz singer, takes the stage at the Willow Theater in Boca Raton’s Sugar Sand Park. Price is just 23, but she’s already finished work on her fourth CD, and has a hot trio behind her as she navigates the standards. I like her voice, and you can hear some more of it at her Website; I particularly like her version of Hoagy Carmichael’s Skylark, which has a lyric by Johnny Mercer, whose centenary is being celebrated this year.

Sunday: Camerata del Re at St. Paul’s in Delray Beach, doing an all-Vivaldi program. Some interesting things on the program including the cantata Vengo a voi, luci adorate (with soprano Anita Smith) and the popular flute concerto known as Il Gardellino.

Also Sunday afternoon is the third and final concert in the organ series at Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach. On the program are organists Brian Wm. Davey, R. Steven Gorden, and duo organists Diana Akers and Irena Kofman. Music by Rutter and Alan Rawsthorne is on the program for the 3 p.m. recital.