The Boulder Bach Festival’s recent “Venice on Fire” concerts explored Italian Baroque music using an unusual mix of acoustic and electric instruments.
The musicians -- led by Boulder Bach Festival’s artistic director Zachary Carrettin on electric violin -- played pieces by Antonio Vivaldi, Tomaso Albinoni and other Italian composers.
Carrettin leads a festival dedicated to the ultimate Baroque composer, but he embraces the sound of modern instruments playing centuries-old music. His electric violin arrangements of J.S. Bach’s Cello Sonatas are a great example.
Here are some highlights from the Venice on Fire programs, played in the CPR Performance Studio by Carrettin, electric cellist Gal Faganel and electric guitarist Keith Barnhart.
One of the best session moments, which you can watch above, was composer Barbara Strozzi’s Aria from “Cantata Che si puo fare,” written in 1664. Strozzi sang and composed vocal music, and you can hear her gift for writing a simple melody in this instrumental arrangement.
Barnhart opens the performance with a long and dreamy guitar solo before the rest of the ensemble sways into action. It’s a haunting mix of Baroque arpeggios and jazzlike guitar chords.
For more from the session, watch a lively take on music from Vivaldi’s Third Violin Sonata:
And here’s the Venice on Fire arrangement of music by Marco Uccellini: