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Vivaldi and friends return to San Miguel

By Michael Pearl

The Mexican Baroque Orchestra returns for one concert only at Teatro Angela Peralta, Friday, January 24, 7pm. Last year the orchestra attracted a record and ecstatic Pro Musica audience, who cheered to the roof their riveting performance of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. This year the orchestra will play an entirely new program, again focussing on Vivaldi.

Pro Musica Concert Series
Mexican Baroque Orchestra
Fri, Jan 24, 7pm
Teatro Ángela Peralta
400/350/200/150 pesos

The orchestra was founded in 2009 by Miguel Lawrence, born in Monterrey in 1963. In 1977 he moved to London, England, where he earned a degree at Trinity College of Music and became an Associate of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he graduated with top honors. He was a member of several famous ensembles during this time, including the European Union Baroque Orchestra and The New London Consort.

In 1984, Lawrence returned to Mexico and joined the chamber orchestra, Solistas de México, touring much of Mexico and Europe, and giving over 300 concerts as a featured soloist, playing both flute and recorder. He has played on more than 25 albums, for labels such as Decca, Dorian, and Divine Art. He was principal flautist of the Orchestra of Baja California and a Latin Grammy nominee with the CD Tango Mata Danzon.

Lawrence has gathered around him the finest group of musicians playing Baroque music in Mexico. Not only are they outstanding musicians, but they are also wonderful characters, leading to performances which sparkle with individuality and originality, combined with the unique sound of the period and reproduction instruments they play.

The orchestra’s first album, “Mexico in Venice,” was a huge hit, and was broadcast by BBC Radio 3, Britain’s foremost classical music station and Radio Italia 3 in Rome. Their second album, “Pensieri Adriarmonici,” for the Toccata Classics label, was released last year, and has also received excellent reviews, including by London’s Guardian newspaper.

Their program at the Peralta includes names that ring out like the glorious peeling of 17th century bells—Vivaldi, Boccherini, Albinoni, Pachelbel, Handel and Bach. These composers will color the brilliant musical landscape of the evening with a string of sparkling jewels, many of them well known, even to non-concert-goers.

Foremost among these is Antonio Vivaldi; the Baroque periods prodigiously productive and talented grand master. In the first half of the program we will hear his sumptuous Concerto for Two Violins in A minor, and his Concerto for Oboe in D major. He reappears after the intermission, when his thrilling Concerto for Two Trumpets in C major will fill the wonderful acoustics of the theater with exuberant joy, followed by his Concerto in A minor, and the bewitching Concerto for Sopranino Recorder in D major, Il Gardellino, which imitates the twittering of a goldfinch.

Also featured will be Bach’s timeless Brandenburg Concert No. 2 with solo trumpet, oboe, recorder and violin. This work is always a favorite with listeners as it beautifully unites soloists and orchestra over its three movements.

We will also hear Pachelbel’s incomparable Canon and Gigue, which ranks at the top of the Baroque orchestral repertoire. Similar in feel to the Canon is Albinoni’s supremely moving and famous Adagio in G minor, the haunting beauty of which is cocooned in profound sorrow. Boccherini appears briefly with his enchanting Minuetto, a piece which vividly evokes baroque courtly dancing.

The concert ends on a high note when happy times come to mind with a suite from Handel’s celebratory Water Music, written for King George in 1717 for a pageant display on the Thames River, which I heard played on that same river nearly 300 years later for the pageant to honor Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.

This is a concert not to be missed so rush to buy your tickets now.

Tickets for the concerts, at 400/350/250 and 150 pesos donation each, are available at St. Paul’s Church, calle Cardo 6, Monday to Friday, 10am–4pm; as well as at La Tienda in La Biblioteca, Insurgentes 25; Solutions, Mesones 57; La Conexión, Aldama 3; and the Teatro Angela Peralta box office on Hernández Macías at the corner of Mesones.

The quality of the music and opera Pro Musica brings to San Miguel, our unique Rhythm, Rhyme & Reason program, teaching music in underprivileged schools in the campo and our work in the city’s orphanages, costs increasing amounts of money to provide. The best way to help us fund our activities is to become a Patron Member. Patron membership costs as little US$100 per year, is US tax deductible, and includes many benefits, such as complimentary concert tickets and Meet the Artists suppers and cocktail parties. For information on all of Pro Musica’s concerts for the 2013–2014 season and Patron Membership, please visit our website: or e-mail

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