Saturday, October 24, 2009

Musica Pragensis - Mozart, Pachelbel, Bach, Handel, Bach-Gounod, Schubert & Vivaldi - 10/19/09

Musica Pragensis
Mozart: Ave Verum
Pachelbel: Kanon
Bach: Air
Handel: Allegro - Passacaglia
Bach-Gounod: Ave Maria
Mozart: Church Sonatas A & F Major
Schubert: Ave Maria
Vivaldi: The Four Seasons - "Spring" & "Summer"

After getting over the stunning sight that is Prague's Old Town Square, and a few minutes later the no less stunning sight that is the Charles Bridge, I found myself in front of the Church of San Salvadore, right at the eastern end of the bridge, and noticed a program outside advertising Vivaldi's Four Seasons. Because it had started 10 minutes earlier, I quickly bought a ticket from the more than willing vendor outside and stepped into a richly decorated interior where some delicate music welcomed me.

As I was quietly getting myself together and trying to figure out what season we were in, I was surprised (and worried!) not to be able to place it. A few more minutes led me to the conclusion that they were not playing the Four Seasons at all, but rather some liturgical arias with among them (Surprise!) the two perennial Ave Maria by Gounod and Schubert. Eventually, we did get to hear Vivaldi's "Spring" and "Summer", the latter ending the performance with a fierce, mean storm. Although the string quartet was evidently of the competent kind, I couldn't help but find that the sound left quite a bit to be desired, not meshing well together and/or getting lost in the space. I suspect, however, that my seat in the back corner had a lot to do with that, but I guess that was the punishment for being late.

As I grabbed a flyer on my way out, I realized that the program we had just heard was in fact the one announced, with The Four Seasons more prominently displayed than the other numbers. In my eagerness not to waste another minute, I hadn't carefully reviewed the poster, but all was well that ended well as this had been a rather enjoyable introduction to Prague's classical music scene.

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