by Peter Feher
Apollo’s Fire can’t help returning to the music of Claudio Monteverdi. Cleveland’s period orchestra revived its thrilling take on the composer’s Vespers of 1610 to start the season, and you couldn’t ask for a better beginning. The 40-odd singers and instrumentalists who filled First Baptist Church in Shaker Heights on Saturday, October 8 had musical riches to spare, and a distinctive creative vision united it all.
The unifying thread wasn’t Monteverdi, however, but artistic director Jeannette Sorrell, who’s made a focused project out of this sometimes sprawling piece. Part of the challenge lies in the work’s sheer scope, which is emblematic of the composer’s career. The music looks back on older Renaissance and Medieval styles while also anticipating the innovations of the Baroque era.