Steamboat Strings classical series closes with chamber orchestra, choir performing Vivaldi |

Steamboat Strings classical series closes with chamber orchestra, choir performing Vivaldi

The concert is at 8 p.m. today

Nicole Inglis

Andrés Cárdenas walks through a section of music during rehearsal Friday.
Matt Stensland

— In the final classical performance of the 2010 Strings Music Festival, music director Andrés Cárdenas will conduct and solo within two pivotal pieces of the Baroque era.

"You really have to know what you're doing," he joked about playing the dual role in two works by Antonio Vivaldi.

Vivaldi, a priest born in 1678, was heavily influenced by the Roman Catholic Church in his composition of the grand, full sound in "Gloria," which will be performed in D minor. In addition, the 18-piece Strings Festival Orchestra will explore Vivaldi's more virtuosic side in concertos from "La Stravan­ganza," which Cardenas said means "the extravagant."

The concert is at 8 p.m. today at the Strings Music Pavilion. Tickets are $60.

As the festival's music directors, Cárdenas and his wife, Monique Mead, have been working on expanding the programming to include regional and national acts at Strings Class­­ical.

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For the first time, Cárdenas said, the Fort Collins-based Colorado Chamber Choir and vocal soloists will perform alongside the orchestra for the 30-minute "Gloria" piece.

"The choir is Baroque-sized, about 25 people," Cárdenas said. "It's commensurate with the size of the orchestra, which creates a certain texture and cohesion in the sound."

Flown in from the East Coast for the performance will be mezzo soprano Raquel Winnica and soprano Joanna Manring.

Cárdenas said the piece is joyful and upbeat.

"Part of (Vivaldi's) job was to please his superiors with lots of religious-oriented music," Cárdenas said. "Anything to bring the glory of God to forefront in his music. And 'Gloria' is like a mass, but it's more celebratory than a mass."

After a brief intermission, the tone will change, but the composer will remain the same.

In contrast to "Gloria," the four concertos Cárdenas will lead on his violin, from "La Stravanganza," are some of the most difficult, technical pieces Vivaldi created.

"They're very virtuosic, colorful," he said. "People may know Vivaldi's 'Four Seasons,' they're very famous, but these are far more difficult and interesting harmonically. They're very advanced, and they ask a huge amount of the soloist."

Cárdenas will play the lead violin in all four pieces, lasting about 45 minutes, a feat he said would physically be exhausting.

But the most interesting part, he said, will be the fusion of the Baroque-era sound with his modern violin.

"The instruments they played 350 years ago were smaller and tuned lower," he said. "With that fusion, we'll get a very credible interpretation of this music."

Strings Music Festival Exec­utive Director Kay Clagett said she was looking forward to what could be a bittersweet finale to the classical music aspect of the 2010 festival.

"We've had a great 23rd season of music and want to thank the community of Steamboat Springs for their wonderful support and participation," she said.

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