February 11, 2018 — 4 PM
Since 1969, the internationally acclaimed vocal sextet The Western Wind has devoted itself to the special beauty and variety of a cappella music. The Ensemble’s repertoire reveals its diverse background – from Renaissance motets to Fifties rock ’n’ roll, from medieval carols to Duke Ellington, from complex works by avant-garde composers to the simplest folk melodies. This is their second Impromptu appearance .
Impromptu Concerts wins hearts at St. Paul's with 22 songs about love
By Raymond Baker

Impromptu Classical Concerts again drew a huge, happy audience to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church last Sunday afternoon, Feb. 11. The featured attraction: Western Wind, a New York-based sextet of accomplished singers, increasingly in demand both as a group and individually.

The performers—two sopranos, a baritone, three tenors—noting that their Key West appearance was scheduled just a few days before Valentine’s Day, themed their concert accordingly As their printed program bannered it, this afternoon’s song-making was to be a celebration of “Love! Sacred, Sexy, Soulful, Silly.”

And so it came to be, a feast of twenty-two songs each dealing in its own way with affairs of the heart. Some merry, others mournful. Some written as long ago as medieval and renaissance times, and some as current as the Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby, Ellington’s Don’t Get Around Much Any More—and three songs by Leonard Bernstein, each of the seven concerts in the Impromptu Concerts 2018 season offering Bernstein’s music in commemoration of Bernstein’s centennial.

Western Wind has been particularly praised for their ability to do authentic justice to composers as varied as Monteverdi, writing in the Italian middle ages, and John Dowland, English composer of the arrestingly frank Come Again, Sweet Love, written in Shakespeare’s time. The Western World sextet also demonstrated last Sunday how comfortably at home they are with Bosnian Folksong as with Yemenite Chant. And with Billy Joel as with Kurt Weill.

There was no shortage of golden, glowing, meltingly rich harmonies in the afternoon’s gambol through the centuries. The group’s artfulness in blending tonalities and in coordinating six beautifully maneuvering voices was altogether uncanny. It was fascinating, for instance, to follow the sopranos in their slow arrival at the end of a melodic line, note by note, in soft, creamy unison and a pianissimo that shaded off into breath-stopping silence—effective music-craft appearing more than once in the afternoon’s program.

Next Impromptu Concert at St. Paul’s will be Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25, with the Katona Twins, two young Budapest-born men, each a classical guitar virtuoso, in a melodious program ranging from de Falla, Albéniz and Piazzolla to the Beatles and, of course, Bernstein.

Impromptu Classical Concerts tickets are still reasonably priced at $20, students free—at the door, or via keystix.com (295-7676). Concerts start at 4 pm, please come early for preferred seating.