The year was 1747 and the sounds of baroque music was taking Europe by storm. This month, the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia is staging a tribute to the genre with a concert called All Baroque led by guest conductor Jeffrey Brillhart.
"In a way you could describe baroque music the same way that you describe rock music, there's a lot of detail that goes on," Brillhart says. "Most gripping is its beat."
The program kicks off with the overture from Zais, written by a composer whose talents, Brillhart says, were overshadowed by a legend. "Rameau from France who was the greatest composer in France working at the same time as Bach," he adds.
Brillhart says in writing Zais, Rameau was inspired by the four seasons.
"It's a fantasy piece," explains Brillhart. "it starts off with just a drummer giving thunder in the distance."
Brillhart says modern-day listeners would never guess the piece was written in the 1740s and calls it :really, really amazing."
The concert is a mix of works from both Rameau and Bach, whose Air from Suite No. 3 in D opens the second half of the program with a softer sound.
"It's an extremely poignant piece with a very beautiful melody," says Brillhart. "You can almost reset your heart rhythm to what goes on in the baseline."
Brillhart will not only conduct but also improvise a solo work on the harpsichord.
"Harpsichord music was the music of the courts, music of the royalty," says Brillhart. "It's been described by some as sort of a twangy sound."
Brillhart has been working with the Chamber Orchestra for nearly three decades and promises a show that will pleasantly surprise the audience.
"I think a lot of people will be amazed at the music," he vows. "They're going to love it absolutely; they're going to walk out of the room for sure tapping their toes."
The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia
Brillhart: All Baroque
The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, Perelman Theater
300 South Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103
Sunday, Feb. 25 at 2:30 p.m.; Monday, Feb. 26 at 7:30 p.m.
To purchase tickets, visit The Arts in Philly.