WMFO’s Joyce The Voice hosted a big name in the classical scene on her show, The Voicemobile – Martin Pearlman, three-time Grammy nominee and the director of Boston Baroque. He has been conducting since the orchestra’s debut in 1973 as the first baroque orchestra in the US, and they are celebrating their 40th anniversary this season. With the original idea of being an orchestra exclusively made up of period instruments, it has seen massive success and many of its founding members have gone on to direct other ensembles.
Pearlman studied in Holland when baroque instruments were just beginning to come into vogue, and when he moved back to Boston he decided to get a few friends together and play concertos, according to the interview. Baroque instruments were difficult to tune and nobody really played them with the skill of a virtuoso, but Pearlman was determined and the orchestra grew enough that after several years he could add a chorus and even an opera section.
Baroque itself is a historical period of music which has become incredibly popular in recent years, but Boston Baroque’s goal was specifically to play the music of the time with instruments of the time. Though some antique instruments survive, many have been modernized and thus copies of the originals must be made – Pearlman assured The Voice that the main difference was not the quality, but rather the warmth of the sound. Considering different air quality and materials, modern instruments produce a warmer sound.
With Beethoven this week, Handel in December, Bach on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day being broadcasted nationally, and a list of other concerts lined up, Boston Baroque has a busy year ahead of it.
Boston Baroque’s 40th anniversary season includes several events the public can go to in the next few days – November 8th and 9th, they are playing Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, for which tickets can be bought here. Baroque also has a subscription series of five concerts and a New Directions series combining contemporary and classical music.