Growing up, my favorite comic book was Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes published by DC Comics. Every month Superboy would leave Smallville and fly at super speed to break the Time Barrier, touching down in the 30th century and teaming up with teenage heroes from all corners of the galaxy. Superboy and the Legion fought numerous nefariously named villains including Darkseid, the Fatal Five, Mordru, and the Time Trapper.

Somewhere along the line, DC Comics started fretting about how their revamped Superman (and an imminently redundant Superboy) would fit in with the Legion's unparalleled 25-year continuity. Some crafty writer concocted the Time Trapper's Pocket Universe, a smaller, parallel universe where Superboy could still exist and all those adventures "actually" happened.

Listening to violinist Andrew Manze's heart-stoppingly beautiful performances on The Rosary Sonatas (harmonia mundi) of Heinrich Biber (1644-1704) and the English Concert's sumptuous slew of concertos on Concertos for the Emperor (harmonia mundi) by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) got me thinking about the Pocket Universe again.

Contemporary practitioners of what's often called "Early Music," in other words, music from before the prime of Haydn and Mozart, say 1780, inhabit a fully functional Pocket Universe where no other subsequent music need exist. Like Superboy, this music is propelled centuries into a future with enough adventures to last forever: Long-dead composers not only provide an endless stream of music but long-lost musical scores get rediscovered, re-assessed, and in some cases, re-assembled.

But enough of comic books. Andrew Manze leads the English Concert in concerti by Vivaldi and Locatelli along with string ensemble works by Schmelzer and Biber. Pre-concert lecture at 7:00 p.m. by Andrew Manze. CHRISTOPHER DeLAURENTI

Catch The English Concert Fri Nov 12 at 8 pm (Town Hall, Eighth Ave and Seneca St, 325-7066), $20-$35.

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