Kraemer leads MOB’s season finale

By John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune
May 24, 2016

As the other half of the British conducting team leading Music of the Baroque, principal guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer doesn't always get sufficient credit for the invigorating musical insights he brings to the group's 17th- and 18th-century repertory. The diverse and appealing program of Baroque suites and concertos with which he concluded MOB's 45th anniversary season Monday night at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance reminded one of those virtues.

The MOB orchestra bade farewell to three of its longtime members — concertmaster Robert Walters, principal oboe Robert Morgan and principal horn Jon Boen. Each player acquitted himself most capably in solo capacities, Walters as one of the concertino players for Bach's Fifth "Brandenburg" Concerto, Morgan as soloist in Vivaldi's Oboe Concerto in D minor (RV 454) and Boen as one of the solo hornists (Robert Johnson was the other) in Vivaldi's Concerto for two horns in F (RV 538).

Directing from the harpsichord, Kraemer secured bouncy rhythms and aerated textures throughout the program. He did especially well with Georg Philipp Telemann's inventive Overture in B minor and Francesco Durante's delightful Concerto No. 8 in A major ("La Pazzia"). The latter piece is programmatic in nature, setting a pair of maverick violas against a quarrelsome string ensemble; the agitation is calmed and peace restored. Violists Elizabeth Hagen and Terri Van Valkinburgh blended dulcet harmonies.