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Camerata di Sant'Antonio at Blessed Trinity

Blessed Trinity R.C. Church on Leroy Avenue. (photo by Steve Mangione)

Architecture and chamber music for a Sunday afternoon

The Camerata di Sant’Antonio will again be performing in a church this Sunday afternoon at 2:30pm, but it will not be in their usual home at Saint Anthony of Padua’s, but rather at Blessed Trinity R.C. Church, 317 Leroy Avenue, in a special event to benefit the church’s building restoration fund.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Blessed Trinity Church is one of the finest examples of 12th-century, Northern Italian, Lombard-Romanesque architecture in North America. Designed by architects Chester Oakley and Albert Schallmo, the church was built during the years of 1923-1928, with the exterior constructed of medieval, handmade, unmolded bricks set in mortar by bricklayers who were allowed to design their own patterns, based on historical precedents. The terra cotta ornamental pieces of the richly decorative floors, windows, doorways, arches, and columns of the interior were all handmade, fitted together, and fired for two weeks, then marked, disassembled, and shipped to Buffalo from a kiln in Crum Lynne, Pennsylvania.

The then president of St. Bonaventure College, Reverend Thomas Plassmann, worked out a comprehensive plan of symbols for the church, similar to the kind used by medieval artisans, and the expansive iconography of the church presents a comprehensive view of Christianity. It will be among the architectural elements examined at 1:30pm during a guided tour and presentation preceding the concert led by Martin Ederer, a violinist/violist with the Camerata who is also an associate professor of history at Buffalo State College and the author of the book Buffalo’s Catholic Churches, Ethnic Communities and the Architectural Legacy.

Following the pre-concert tour, music director Christopher Weber will lead the Camerata in works by Mozart, Bach, Grainger, and Britten.

Mozart composed his youthful work known as the Salzburg Symphony No. 2 in B-flat major, K. 137 (K. 125b) in 1772. The piece is a actually a divertimento, written for performance by either string quartet or string orchestra, and is one of only three string chamber music works that he wrote while living in Salzburg. The three-movement works, best thought of as sinfoniette, or little symphonies, were composed in a lighthearted, Italian style, and unlike the other two works in this set, which Mozart’s father Leopold tried unsuccessfully to get published as a set of quartets, in the Symphony No. 2 a slow movement precedes the two lively final movements.

J. S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos are the most often performed baroque works, after Vivaldi’s ubiquitous Four Seasons. The Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048, written for three violins, three violas, three cellos, and basso continuo, will feature members of the Camerata as soloists.

The Australian born composer, pianist, writer, and educator Percy Grainger was also an avid collector of folk music, and many of his works, including his 1911 Handel in the Strand, are imbued with the spirit of folk music. Grainger noted that he chose the name “because the music seemed to reflect both Handel and English musical comedy [the Strand is the home of London musical comedy], and in it I have made use of matter from some variations of mine on Handel’s ‘Harmonious Blacksmith’ tune.” Ivan Docenko will be the piano soloist for this performance.

Benjamin Britten finished composing his Simple Symphony, Op. 4, for string orchestra, in 1934 when he was 20 years old, but he incorporated a lot of material that he composed much earlier, as a teenager. The piece, also often performed in its string quartet version, is the earliest work by the composer in the repertoire.

Martin Ederer along with the other musicians will be at the post-concert reception, and secured, off-street parking is available in the lot behind the church. Admission is by free-will offering, with a suggested donation of $10.

For more information, call 833-0301 or visit

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