Great Barrington — The ACRONYM Baroque string band turned in a set of dazzling early music performances on Saturday, May 12, at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Centerin the penultimate presentation of the 2017/2018 season by Close Encounters With Music.
ACRONYM’s raison d’être is to discover, transcribe, record and give modern premieres of long-forgotten 17th-century musical gems, using period instruments to produce timbres of strange and otherworldly beauty. The group executes this material with sparkling wit, outstanding ensemble and what the New York Times has aptly called “unity of spirit,” which is code for “artistic and interpersonal single-mindedness of purpose with a cherry on top.” (The cherry is camaraderie, which engenders unity and improves the quality of all musical performances.)
Their onstage camaraderie makes these players a joy to watch in performance, because they know how to elicit the very best from one another with just a glance. They love the music they play and, truth be told, they seem to love one another as well. It matters.
The musicians in ACRONYM wield a rare and wonderful power: By sheer force of beauty, they make uninitiated listeners fall in love with music they’ve never heard before and know nothing about. To borrow an expression from the pop music world, they know how to sell a song.