by Stephen Martorella
July 3, 2022
Violinist Chad Hoopes with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra wowed
Friday’s opening night audience of Newport Classical Music Festival.
the opulent splendor and magnificent acoustics of the Breakers Great
Hall, overlooking the sea, the Grammy Award winning conductorless
ensemble delivered with virtuosity, precision, and joie de vivre on a
sonic palette rich and vibrant. A glance at the program suggested a bow
to the Baroque, but the realization provided interpretations,
techniques, arrangements, and stylings that were at times lush and
romantic, and elsewhere quite novel, modern, even jazzy.
The players recognized the 81-year-old American composer Adolphus Hailstork
with his 1992 Sonata da Chiesa, a work of reverent lyric and tonal
writing, much of it in counterpoint. The orchestra made use of textures
in this work by using three levels of orchestras, recalling Ralph
Vaughan Williams’s three orchestras for the Fantasia on a Theme of
Thomas Tallis, pitting a solo group against a mid-layer of first desk
players, with the full complement for the thickest and richest sections.
Movement titles Exaltation, O Great Mystery, Adoration, Jubiliation, O
Lamb of God, Grant Us Thy Peace, Exaltation—appeared in the printed
essay, but not on the title page. Orpheus’s sensitivity and
expressivity, left us with a serene sense of peace and wonder, ending on
a note of quiet joy.