What a welcome return to the concert hall this was for audiences, and a classy, stylish way for Musica Viva to take to the stage for the first time since March as part of the organisation’s Reconnect series. As organist and harpsichordist Erin Helyard explained, this was a program focused on the generation of composers that preceded and no doubt influenced masters like Bach and Handel, meaning audiences heard rare gems by those including Schmelzer, Biber, and Bruhns. Many of these pieces were bittersweet, others melancholy, but all suggested a joy that was undoubtedly felt by many in City Recital Hall, pleased to be able to congregate again after such a long time away.

Erin Helyard and David Greco Erin Helyard and David Greco recording for ABC Classic

Helyard was joined by frequent collaborator, baritone David Greco, and a quartet of similarly distinguished musicians – violinists Matthew Greco and Rafael Font, harpist Hannah Lane, and viola da gambist Anton Baba. Helyard opened the concert with an ideally paced, lively performance of Tunder’s Canzonafor Organ...