Rave: Collegium Musicum performance stunning, but audience scant

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 20, 2013 

Sadly, I have to tell you what you missed: an absolutely stunning one-and-a-half-hour musical event, "The Birthday Cantata for Swedish King Gustav III," performed on May 11 at WWU's Performing Arts Center Concert Hall by Western's superb Collegium Musicum.

To use the word again, the event was stunning in its direction, stunning in its presentation - and stunning (unfortunately) by the scarcity of appreciative individuals gracing the seats in the PAC hall. What they missed was a splendid and unusual work that has not been performed anywhere on this Earth since the 18th century.

Granted, it's not every day that King Gustav III requires a salute, but when the Collegium Musicum chose to do so, it was for the simple reason that in 1782 the composer, Joseph Martin, had created a musical gem. Little wonder that Martin has been described as Sweden's Mozart, and I would like to extend my gratitude to Western music professor Bertil van Boer for introducing him to us.

If you wish to hear a perfect blend of orchestration and vocal performers, keep an eye out for the next performance of the Collegium Musicum under van Boer's direction. Oh, it's important that I mention it: It's free!

John Bell Smithback of Bellingham, via Letters to the Editor

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