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Dance and Music Reviews : Waverly Consort at Ambassador Auditorium

February 12, 1988|RICHARD JENSEN

The Waverly Consort turns 23 this year and is showing its age.

From the eclectic program to the pseudo-Renaissance costumes worn by leader Michael Jaffee and his nine colleagues, its concert at Ambassador Auditorium Tuesday reminded at least one listener of the 1960s rather than the 1560s.

The four instrumentalists and six singers performed more than a score of 15th- and 16th-Century compositions by Spanish and Portuguese composers. Among them were dances, variations, theater songs, motets, villancicos, romances and ensaladas .

The playing was musical and lively and the arrangements creative--sometimes too creative. The anonymous villancico "Sa qui turo zente pleta," for example, would have sounded more at home in a Latin dance hall.

Perhaps it was the bongos.

The remaining instruments were more traditional. Adam Gilbert and Kay Jaffee played early winds including recorders and krummhorns, Rosamund Morley played viols and Michael Jaffee plucked, strummed and beat a vihuela.

This, despite the fact that the noble vihuela was neither strummed nor beaten by its early practitioners. Such "abuses" were generally reserved for the more popular five-course guitar.

The vocalists sang with great energy and some grace, although there were no outstanding soloists among them. The two a cappella motets were exquisite. One longed to hear more of the great polyphonic repertory, if only to balance the large number of popular tunes.

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