Retooled Music of the Baroque season hews to populist side

Mon Aug 03, 2020 at 12:00 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Stacy Garrop’s Spectacle of Light will receive its world premiere in Music of the Baroque’s revised 50th anniversary season. Photo: Darrell Hoeman

Music of the Baroque will spread its 50th anniversary celebration across two seasons as a result of the fall cancellations necessitated by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic.

“This has been a trying year for our audience, deprived of live concert experiences for months, and for our musicians, unable to perform the music they love,” said executive director Declan McGovern in a released statement. “All of us at Music at the Baroque appreciate so much our supporters, whose patience, resilience, and generosity has kept us going, and our musicians, who share their artistry with us through the virtual world. 

“We are all so eager to get back on stage in January,” he added. “Should we have to revise the plan further due to ongoing health and safety concerns, we will of course do so. We hope that with the medical advances being made and the high level of precautions undertaken at each of our venues, including social distancing protocols, we will be in a position to share with you once again the special and visceral experience of live music-making.”

All of the six rescheduled 2021 programs will be streamed live to accommodate concertgoers who prefer to watch at home should the pandemic continue to linger. 

Two of the three major choral works planned for this season will be pushed back to 2021-22 (the traditional Holiday Brass and Choral concerts are also cancelled). With both Haydn’s The Creation and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion delayed, the remaining lineup for this season is even more populist than originally scheduled.

Jane Glover will open the shortened six-concert season in January with the previously scheduled Mozart program with pianist Gabriela Montero. The program will add the world premiere of Stacy Garrop’s Spectacle of Light, moved from the fall. Also unchanged is the February concertante program of Vivaldi, Bach and Corelli led by John Butt, music director of Scotland’s Dunedin Consort.

In March Glover will lead a program of Handel’s Greatest Hits with both the Water Music and Music for the Royal Fireworks (originally scheduled for May), which includes an encore of the Garrop commission.

Bach’s complete Brandenburg Concertos (moved from October) will be led by Nicholas Kraemer in April. Kraemer will also lead the May performances of Handel’s Messiah (originally slated for November).

The season will conclude in June with Jane Glover leading a sacred choral music, a program cancelled this past May due to the coronavirus.

Music of the Baroque is also exploring the possibility of offering small-scale live concerts this fall, said McGovern.

In addition to its revised season, Music of the Baroque will release a CD of Bach’s Mass in B Minor, led by Glover and recorded at concerts in 2019. The recording is the first of four cornerstone Bach works that MOB will release over the next few seasons.

Like many other musical organizations, Music of the Baroque will be going online during the pandemic with several virtual programs beginning this month and running through October. WFMT will also commence a nine-concert MOB series beginning August 19.

For more information on these programs and the retooled MOB 2020-21 season, go to

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