The wise guy who dismissed baroque music as "Muzak for the intelligentsia" may have had his opinion, but the record-buying public goes right on laughing in his face.
With its energetic hustle and bustle mingling with ascensions to the spiritual summit a la Johann Pachelbel's ubiquitous Canon and J.S. Bach's otherworldly Air on a G String, the baroque idiom continues to enchant.
One of its newest and most effective practitioners, violinist Giuliano Carmignola, comes to Alumni Hall at the Naval Academy Tuesday night for an evening of concertos by Antonio Vivaldi.
The concert is presented under the auspices of the Vice Admiral Eliot Bryant and Miriam Bryant Distinguished Artist Series. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m.
Carmignola and the Venice Baroque Orchestra that will accompany him under the direction of Andrea Marcon bounded onto the classical music scene two years ago with a scintillating Sony Classical recording of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons -- one of the best-loved baroque masterpieces.
Several Sony releases later, including a marvelous set of Johann Sebastian Bach's sonatas for violin and harpsichord, Carmignola and Marcon have forged one of their most expressive and stimulating period performance collaborations.
With Marcon conducting, Carmignola will play The Four Seasons, Vivaldi's highly pictorial set of concertos keyed to the seasons of the year, complete with howling winds, barking dogs, hailstorms and summer showers.
Carmignola also will perform three other Vivaldi concertos.
The orchestra will round out Tuesday's all-Vivaldi program with the "Sinfonia" from the opera Giustino.
The pomp and pageantry of Venice permeate Vivaldi's music. So Carmignola, who teaches at the conservatory there, and the orchestra, which is the only Venetian ensemble specializing in 18th-century fare, come at this music with proprietary flair.
The orchestra is in residence at Venice's Scuola Grande di San Rocco, an academy whose walls are hung with the paintings of Tintoretto and whose rooms still echo with the sounds of Giovanni Gabrieli, Francesco Cavalli and, yes, Antonio Vivaldi.
Dollars to doughnuts, none of the concertos these folks will play in their Annapolis salute to Vivaldi will sound like Muzak at all!
The Naval Academy will remain a hub of musical activity through the weekend when the 21st annual Halloween Concert will take place in the Academy Chapel at 8 p.m. Oct. 25 and Oct. 26.
Organist Monte Maxwell will put the chapel's mighty 6,000-pipe organ through its paces, as more than 100 midshipmen participate in the phantasmagorial recital that will include selections from Phantom of the Opera, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Moulin Rouge.
As he does each year, Maxwell will also favor his audience with J.S. Bach's cataclysmic Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, and Samuel Barber's spiritually rapt Adagio for Strings.
After all, the music and special effects are calibrated to usher in the light of divine essence, as the creepy darkness of All Hallow's Eve gives way to radiance of the saints on Nov. 1.
For tickets to Naval Academy events, call 410-293-TIXS or order online at www.usna.edu/music.