In its 21st annual installment, this festival is straying from the promise of its name. Cantatas and orchestral pieces by the Baroque era's Big Daddy still dominate the festival's four programs, and the inclusion of J.S.'s near contemporaries, both major and minor (including Biber, Scheidt, Molter, Bertali, Cesare, Biscogli, Marini, and, perhaps inevitably, Vivaldi), is probably justified. But why is Mozart on the bill? And Mendelssohn? The event's organizers point to the precocious maestro's historic role as the man who revived his fellow Leipziger's reputation in 1829 with the first performance of the Saint Matthew Passion since 1750. Does that mean that Stravinsky, who also dabbled with Baroque conventions, will sneak into the festival one of these days? That said, I should note that it's the caliber of the performers that makes this festival so enjoyable: Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in D Minor will feature the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Charles Pikler as soloist, and Mozart's Concerto for Keyboard in E-flat will be performed by David Schrader, one of the best keyboardists in town. Also on the noteworthy roster are soprano Patrice Michaels Bedi, mezzo-soprano Emily Lodine, oboist Robert Morgan, violinist Sharon Polifrone, and CSO violinist Blair Milton and flutist Louise Dixon. The festival's final offering is sure to be a highlight: Bach's Easter Oratorio, with Richard Webster conducting a quartet of soloists, the Saint Luke's Choir of Men and Boys, and the Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Wednesday and next Friday, May 6, 8 PM, and next Sunday, May 8, 7:30 PM, St. Luke's Church, 939 Hinman, Evanston; 708-945-5625.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Wm. Burlingham.