FREDONIA - For the second consecutive evening, the music of J.S. Bach and others of his ilk greatly pleased an audience at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House.
The performances are part of the annual Bach & Beyond Festival, with Grant Cooper as Artistic Director.
Saturday's concert was not as fluid as Friday's, although the program contained a significant number of familiar audience pleasers. The program got a strong start with Antonio Vivaldi's energetic ''Concerto for Oboe and Violin in B-flat,'' which featured violinist Yuliyan Stoyanov and oboist Cheryl Bishkoff.
Stoyanov performed very well, and his visible eager concentration on the conductor and on other instrumentalists gave a genuine boost to the spectators' enthusiasm. Ms. Bishkoff once again demonstrated a rock solid tone quality and an easy virtuosity, which the audience responded to with enthusiasm, although I had a sense that she was possibly accelerating occasionally, beyond Cooper's intended tempi.
There followed a most enjoyable ''Concerto for Four Violins,'' by Georg Philipp Telemann, performed by Concert Mistress Julie Leven, plus Smiliana Lazannova, Stoyanov again, and Jennifer Wood. The playful quality with which the four violinists passed focus and centrality of performance gave the merry music an additional boost.
The first half of the program ended with a harpsichord solo, performed skillfully by Karl Paulnack. The work was ''Suite in G Minor, HWV 432'' by Bach's direct contemporary, Georg Frideric Handel. When a harpsichord is skillfully played, it can take on a quality of motion, rather like the turning of a spinning wheel, and Paulnack had us moving along with him, in fine order.
As with so many baroque suites, this one began with a French overture, followed by a number of different styles of dance music. Following intermission, violinist Margaret Cooper and violist Brian Walnicki took the stage to perform 20th Century composer Johan Halvorsen's arrangement of the final movement of the Handel Suite - ''Passacaglia.''
As Cooper pointed out, this was 20th century music, and was performed with modern bows, rather than the baroque bows which were used for all the other music of the evening, resulting in a bolder and richer tone, but considerably less clarity. The two instrumentalists performed effectively, and their performances pointed out well the different qualities of the two styles of music.
The evening ended with nearly the full ensemble of the International Bach Soloists, which is the name of the ensemble who perform the festival annually. They played what the Artistic Director described as one of the most exquisite works of music in western literature: Bach's ''Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D, BWV 1068.''
The best-known element of the suite was the familiar ''Air on the G String,'' and it was possible to see smiles spread through the audience as the familiar strains began to emerge. The addition of tympani and two of those high, silvery baroque trumpets, added an element of thrill, as well.
How fortunate we are to have such a festival in our county - one which would draw people for hundreds of miles if it were situated in sites more notorious, if no more scenic nor well-equipped.
The final concert in this season's series will be this afternoon at 4 p.m., in the 1891 Fredonia Opera House.