Clean and clear performance by The Tallis Scholars of music by Victoria, Guerrero and Lobo. In their usual presentation of two voices per part they showcased their trademark clarity. However I had the felling that everything was a little bit cold. Maybe because other groups taking approaches richer in contracts are more fashionable nowadays. The best thing of the concert was the encore, a revealing Loti Cruxifixus a six voices that was sung with more passion.
Martin Helmchen has just released his recording of Beethoven Diabelli variations in alpha and his is touring them: However the most interesting part of this Southbank Center International Piano series programme was the inclusion of 4 Novellettes by Robert Schumann, a music rarely heard in concert. This was serious stuff. Helmchen played the music with intense concentration, not allowing any rest in between pieces, trying to make a coherent narrative with these somehow disjointed pieces.
This performance was on the top of my list for the winter season. I was interested on “Solomon’s Knot take on Bach’s Mass in B minor for several reasons. Authenticity was not really one of them, not because the small ensemble did not match the monumental writing of the work because there is no really authentic way of perform this piece. I was mostly curious about the idea of singing this work from memory and without a conductor.
I got attracted by this programme at St John’ Smith Square as soon as I saw it on the listing. The idea of traveling from early to late baroque using different settings of the same text Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme was really appealing to me. And then I looked at the performers and though: “hey, the Choir of King’s College! They are good. I have many recordings featuring them”.
This is the concert of the year I’m going to miss more. Wait! Why are you reviewing something that you have missed? Actually I went to the concert, but I had to leave before Pachelbel gorgeous cantata Jauchzet dem Herrn alle Welt because I was feeling real sick. And I was really sick: 35C degrees is not a good thing as body temp. So this micro-review is to stand that I really loved how Vox Luminis performed Pachelbel cantata, how they played with sound locations around the stage (what an antiphonal singing!
It’s lovely how a non-professional choir goes for the non-easy path of performing works out of the main repertoire. The Whitehall choir did a good job singing the choral parts of Handel Joshua. Nothing virtuosic nor risky but fine. More problematic was the London Baroque Sinfonia, the typical mostly ad-hoc ensemble made with freelancers. There is nothing wrong with that approach, but it requires a conductor with strong personality working with them.
This was the first collaboration between Holst singers and La Nuova Musica under the direction of David Bates and, after the results, I am pretty sure that won’t be the last. Handel is like home for La Nuova Musica so opening the programme with Judas Maccabeus overture was totally natural for them. And they did very well. The challenge was to come: Mozart. First Mary Bevan sang the beautiful Ruhe sanft from Zaide.