Review: Three-piece wows at Sheldon

April 17, 2010
by John Cutler for the Lincoln Journal Star

Saturday night’s Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music concert was of a different genre.

Normally it’s a string quartet or piano trio or such for a Friends’ event at the Abbott Gallery in the Sheldon Museum of Art.

On Saturday, it was Chatham Baroque.

The threesome performs Baroque-period chamber  music on authentic instruments such as the theorbo and viola da gamba.

And the composers of the evening included some new names, such as Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Francesco Maria Veracini and Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger.

But perhaps the most stunning of these was the performance of movements from the most famous of Baroque composers. Andrew Fouts played movements from the unaccompanied "Sonata No. 1 in G Minor, BWV 1001" by J.S. Bach.

Clarity and transparency marked Fouts’ errorless evocation as he offered just the right amount of restraint and emotion on the adagio and presto movements.

Patricia Halverson plays the viola da gamba, an instrument resembling the cello. But the viola da gamba is fretted, and, unlike the cello, there is no end pin, so it’s held between the legs.

Halverson and Fouts had equally difficult roles in the “Sonata a due in A minor” by German composer Dietrich Buxtehude. The countermelodies in the slow movements were ravishingly played.

Fouts carved his way through the Arcangelo Corelli “La Follia” variations with a virtuosity seldom heard on Baroque or any violin. His talent challenges the top soloists of today’s classical stage.

Perhaps the most interesting instrument of the evening was Scott Pauley’s theorbo, a long-necked lute type guitar, about the same height as Pauley.

The theorbo’s place is generally an accompanying role, especially in trio works where the violin and viola da gamba take on melodies. But Pauley also was soloist at many points, and he played exceedingly well.

Standing ovations are not the norm for the Friends of Chamber Music crowd, but Chatham Baroque got theirs Saturday from the 175 patrons who obviously loved what they heard.