"Turn on original sound." That's a button you might notice when teleconferencing on Zoom. It's used by musicians, allowing their instruments to flow forth freely without the Zoom speech filters that often get confused by music.
But it's also an appropriate description for Lyra Baroque, the Twin Cities-based chamber orchestra that performs in the "HiP" style.
What is "HiP"? It stands for "historically informed performance," meaning the musicians use instruments similar to those played in the Baroque era of the 17th and 18th centuries. Gut strings, wooden flutes, harpsichords — Lyra aspires toward the original sound.
Yet they're presenting it using 21st-century technology through a series of Zoom concerts and livestreamed performances. On Saturday, Lyra's artistic director of 20 years, Jacques Ogg, will perform a solo harpsichord concert from a chapel in his hometown of Maastricht, the southernmost city in the Netherlands.
Then, on Jan. 29 and 30, the baroque orchestra will present its latest in a series of Zoom chamber music concerts, with works by J.S. Bach from three time zones and two continents.
Music via Zoom can be tricky, but Lyra has figured out a way to make it work.
"I have loved watching Zoom concerts because there is a true live interaction with musicians," said Tami Morse, Lyra's executive director and one of the Twin Cities' most prominent harpsichordists. "It's great to hear them talking and playing and know that it's happening right at that moment.
"As a musician having performed a Zoom concert, it was surprising to me that — even though I could not see the audience [while playing] — I could feel their presence. This was moving to me, because I had not felt it since March."
So why "HiP"?
"It makes the music more singing, more articulate," Ogg said via Zoom from the Netherlands. "It reaches people more. … We play with gut strings as opposed to steel strings, and Baroque bows, which are able to create different effects that you can't get with modern tools."
So how has the choice of music changed with livestreaming and Zoom?
"You have to think of coherent programs that can be performed with four, five or six orchestra members," Ogg said. "Because they want to be in one space, at a distance. They're used to being at arm's length, about 3 feet apart, but now they're working at three times that distance."
If the setting for Saturday's concert, Maastricht, sounds familiar, perhaps you know it as the hometown of Andre Rieu, the Dutch waltz and schmaltz purveyor and PBS pledge-drive favorite who's one of the 21st century's biggest selling classical artists. When they come to the Twin Cities, he and his Johann Strauss Orchestra play arenas like Xcel Energy Center or Target Center.
As teens, he and Ogg played in their school orchestra together, but have chosen decidedly different paths in both style and scale.
Rob Hubbard is a freelance classical music critic. • email@example.com
Lyra Baroque Orchestra
Saturday: Solo harpsichord recital by Jacques Ogg, 11 a.m., $5-$15.
Jan. 29-30: "Ground Bass," music by J.S. Bach, noon Jan. 29 and 11 a.m. Jan. 30, $5-$10.