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Zephyr is a versatile ensemble featuring Baroque era wind and string instruments with harpsichord. The ensemble focuses on the rich repertoire of baroque music from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This program, "All in the Family," highlighted music of J.S. Bach, his son, C.P.E. Bach, and Georg Philipp Telemann, godfather to the younger Bach. Members of Zephyr are Gail Ann Schroeder, viola da gamba and soprano viol, William Thauer, Baroque oboe and oboe d' amore, and recorder, and Beverly Biggs, harpsichord.
The opening selection on the program was Sonatina in E minor, TWV 42:e5, for oboe, soprano viol, and continuo. A somewhat somber but brief passage led into the lively and playful Vivace. Another brief, sad Grave passage led into a contrasting Vivace. The warm timbre of the soprano viol mingled with the baroque oboe with the support of the harpsichord sung enticingly. Throughout his career, Telemann produced a phenomenal amount and variety of music.
C.P.E. Bach's Sonata in C, H.558, for viola da gamba and continuo, is cast in two movements: Andante and Arioso, both of which allowed for beautiful examples of Schroeder's mastery of the gamba.
The next piece was J. S. Bach's Sonata in F, S.1035, for recorder and continuo. It featured long melodic phrases with outstanding breath control by Thauer. The interplay between instruments and echo counterpoint hinted at the ingenious skill of this composer.
After intermission, Zephyr performed the Trio Sonata in E minor, from S.76/8 and 528, of J. S. Bach. He must have been well-pleased with this musical material as it was used as Trio Sonata No. 4, S.528 for organ and in Cantata 78. It is made up of three movements: a linked Adagio-Vivace, followed by an Andante, and closing with Un poco Allegro. This last section is a remarkable rolling romp engaging all three instruments in virtuosic performances.
Biggs, the harpsichordist, had a chance to shine all by herself in C.P.E. Bach's Fantasia for Harpsichord in G minor, H. 225, with its magical arpeggios, fantastical runs, surprising chords, and charming melodies. It was a joy to hear the double-manual French harpsichord, one of several keyboard instruments in her collection.
It was then back to the prolific Telemann for his Trio Sonata in F TWV 42: F3, for recorder, gamba, and continuo. Almost completely self-taught in music, he wrote in a wide variety of styles and national idioms.
The concert closed with another of Telemann's Trio Sonatas – in D minor, TWV 42: d7, for recorder, soprano viol, and continuo – which is written in a slow (Andante), fast (Vivace), slow (Adagio), moderate (Allegro) pattern. It was a delightful showpiece for all the instruments and a sparkling conclusion to a delightful afternoon of music.