We are so lucky to hear Toccata, the Orchestra and Community Choral Artists of the Tahoe Area, at St. Theresa Catholic Church in South Lake Tahoe.
The space is perfect for our local symphony orchestra and choir. The beautiful architecture meets the music in such a way as to enhance the aural experience. Artful and sacred music in a sacred space. So much of the orchestral and choral music we know is religious in origin, as for such a long time churches were the few who had printing ability and money to keep musicians paid.
Toccata’s Summer Solstice Serenade is filled with baroque writing with a little modern flare to round it out. Toccata brings us a chamber orchestra and choir, keeping the performers numbers down but filling the hall with sound.
Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) and Johanne Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) were in attendance, with Johanne Friedrick Fasch (1688-1758) joining the baroque foray. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) in with a quick classical jab; then into the 20th century with Leo Sowerby (1895-1968) for a modern onset of a baroque form.
Concerto, cantata and aria are the forms in the melee. James Rawie, conductor and artistic director of Tahoe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, has put together a great lineup which shows off talent from local shores and from abroad.
Rawie uses two concertos from Vivaldi and one from Fasch to highlight the talents of many skilled performers. “Concerto in C major for 2 Flutes, Strings and Continuo, RV. 533 Op. 47 #2” — Vivaldi, in which longtime collaborator Josué Casillas (Puerto Rico) and Carmela Cao (Las Vegas) are featured on flute and David Brock (Stateline) on continuo. In “Concerto in C major for Piccolo, Strings and Continuo, RV. 443” — Vivaldi,we get to hear Casillas return this time on piccolo and Brock on continuo. Casillas, Cao and Brock as well in Fasch’s “Concerto in D major for Two Flutes, Strings and Continuo FaWV L: D9.”
Rawie turns to Mozart with “Aria: Laudate Dominum, from Vespers de Confesore KV. 339”to set the stage for sopranos Katherine DeBoer, Anna Helwing and Jennifer Tibben. The choir as a whole shares with us their love in Bach’s cantata. Bach being a church composer has a litany of cantatas to choose from and here we get “Cantata Es ist das Heil uns kommen her (It is our salvation come here to us) BWV. 9.”Rawie is kind enough to offer his audience a Bernstein’s regard as he explains the German cantata to a primarily English speaking crowd and having the translation in the program.
Finishing with 20th century composer Sowerby in “Classic Concerto for Organ and Strings”for Brock to give the organ a workout aside the strings. If you have an opportunity to hear Toccata perform in St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church of Incline Village, do yourself the favor and go as organ pieces are sure to impress being played on a pipe organ.