December 5, 2023

Piazzolla Tango in Baroque costume

Ensamble MokkaBarock played in the Knights’ Hall as part of this year’s Neuburg Baroque Concerts. Photo: Haberl

Coffee is undoubtedly one of the most popular drinks in the world. You can see for yourself in the opening concert of the Newburgh Baroque Concerts that the aromatic hot drink also produces a number of stimulating ideas from a musical perspective. The young band MokkaBarock followed the “Coffee Road”.

From its early distribution in the East, the vocal journey began via Venice to France, stopping in Austria and finally arriving in Argentina via Germany. This gave the five musicians the opportunity to play a wide range of sonic colors and moods in a precise manner.

For example, in the beginning, the oriental and Arabic shades of “Fasil” by Al-Tanbouri Mustafa Kavous, the most important Baroque composer of the Ottoman Empire. The vibrant exoticism with which the artists played created a wonderful journey into oriental art music. Which also provided a bridge to the next imaginative trip to Italy: Antonio Vivaldi’s chamber music concertos in G minor, RV 103 sensually interpreted by Florian Brandstetter and Tapa Siebert on recorders, Cecilia Clo on cello, Elias Conrad on lute and Julian Gaudiano on harpsichord Bubbling, Briefly Fire Sparkling exotic, but also charming melancholy.

The quintet knew how to convey exquisite French elegance or noble virtuosity and the fast-paced, unforgettable Turkish marching ceremony through the works of composers Nicolas Bernier, Marine Marais and Jean-Baptiste Lully, who worked in the court of the Sun King Louis XIV. The MokkaBarock Ensemble, which met at the Salzburg Mozarteum, also gave Viennese café culture its due – in the form of Johann Caspar Kerl’s Trio Sonata in G Minor, performed with precise dexterity and plenty of mood.

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We then went to the formerly famous “Zimmermannsche Kaffeehaus” in Leipzig to the tunes of Telemann and Bach. Georg Philipp Telemann’s overtures to European and Asian Turkey in Sounding Geography II exuded sophisticated extravagance, comic enthusiasm, and lived in performances of sensitively designed dynamic contrasts. In contrast, Bach’s Trio Sonata in G major impressed with the enchanting, sometimes pastoral, sometimes dance-like atmosphere with which the individual voices were intertwined. The most interesting work of the evening, because it was the most unusual of the group, was certainly “Cafe 1930” by Argentine tango king Astor Piazzolla. The composition rearranged the modern piece specifically for their instrument – ​​thus dressing it in a “baroque” look. The solemn, bittersweet sadness with which the group launched the movement was given a soft, rounded chromatic tone of its own.

The joie de vivre of Tarquinio Merola’s swinging “Ciaccona” was more relaxed and cheerful in the finale, which was heightened further in the spirited encore. A young, energetic, harmonious band that you will love listening to more.

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