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Pro Musica presents Mexican Baroque Orchestra

By Kathleen B. Lowenstein

Pro Musica continues its exciting concert season on Saturday, February 23, with the Mexican Baroque Orchestra, performing at the Teatro Ángela Peralta at 7pm; one concert only. The program will include music by a wide range of composers, including Purcell, Bach, Gluck, Rameau—and that beloved treasure The Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi.

The Four Seasons (Le quattro stagioni) is a set of four violin concertos composed in 1723. The first four concertos were designated Le quattro stagioni, each being named after a season. This is one of the most popular pieces of baroque music, familiar to audiences all over the world, even if they are non-concertgoers. The texture of each concerto is varied, each resembling its respective season. For example, Winter is peppered with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, calling to mind icy rain, whereas Summer evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, which is why the movement is often dubbed Storm. Vivaldi’s gripping music is one of impelling rhythmic vitality, varied texture, and spontaneous-sounding melodic ideas, which come together in a ravishing feast of harmonic extravagance .

Pro Musica presents Mexican Baroque Orchestra
Sat, Feb 23, 7pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta

The concert will open with Henry Purcell’s overture to Dido and Aeneas, based on Virgil’s Aeneid, the first important English opera. Purcell was one of England’s greatest composers and often wrote music for literary works, including King Arthur and Shakepeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The evening also includes Vivaldi’s concerto for soprano recorder, featuring Miguel Lawrence as soloist.

The Mexican Baroque Orchestra was formed by Miguel Lawrence originally to perform the concertos Pensieri Adriarmonici by Venetian composer Giacomo Facco, which were discovered in 1961 inside the library of the Colegio de las Vizcaínas, a colonial building in Mexico City, dating to 1734. Miguel Lawrence was born in Mexico, and studied baroque flute and recorder in London at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he graduated with honors. While living in London he was a member of the New London Consort and of the European Union Baroque Orchestra. He returned to Mexico to play principal flute and recorder for the Solistas de México chamber orchestra, conducted by Eduardo Mata.

The evening’s program also includes the Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Gluck’s opera Orpheus and Eurydice, one of the best-loved melodies in the classical repertoire. Gluck composed at the Habsburg court in Vienna for years and was a key innovator in early classical opera. In Orpheus and Eurydice, first performed in 1762, Gluck demonstrated his idea of making the drama of the work more important than the star singers who performed it, doing away with dry recitative (recitativo secco, accompanied only by continuo) that broke up the action.

We will also be treated to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. His four famous concertos were written in the style of concerto grosso with a small soloist group of instruments, as opposed to a single soloist, playing with a small orchestra. In this particular concerto, Bach wrote for the unusual combination of solo violin and two solo recorders within a small orchestra.

Our musical journey concludes with three pieces from French composer Jean Phillippe Rameu’s Les Indes Galantes, an opera ballet. The dance interludes allowed Rameau to give free rein to his inimitable sense of rhythm, melody and choreography, and they will delight your senses.

Tickets for the Mexican Baroque Orchestra performance may be purchased at any of our ticket sales outlets: La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; and St. Paul’s Church office, Calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am-4pm.

The quality of musicians we bring to San Miguel and our unique Education Outreach program cost increasing amounts. The best way to help us fund our activities is to become a patron member. Annual membership begins at as little as US$100, is US tax deductible and includes many benefits, like complimentary concert tickets and Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties. For additional information, visit our website at


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