Sometimes one hour could be enough. Like this lunchtime recital at Wigmore Hall by Javier Perianes which created a path from the early Chopin to the late one linking with Debussy impressionism and the evocation of Falla music. Perianes Chopin was poetic but still reflexive, showing the seed that was grown and developed by other like Debussy. Isolated preludes from the later are not easy to present but Perianes showed some good ideas.
In the middle of the London Handel Festival, mostly filled with English/London performers, we had the visit of one of the French baroque groups that better play Handel music: Le Concert d’Astrée. Major attraction of this concert at the Wigmore Hall was Sabine Devieilhe presence. Initially programmed Marianne Crebassa was replaced by the younger Lea Desandre. But the biggest surprise was Thomas Dunford playing a sublimely varied and rich continuo from his theorbo.
It looks like I’m becoming a Christophe Rousset as I haven’t missed any of his concerts since I came to London. And with a reason: because I’m enjoying them very much. This programme at the Wigmore Hall was just perfect: * it had coherence of showing the music of Venice during the early baroque * presented two different mood very well differentiated: love and joy vs. death and sorrow * mixed very well known music like the one from Monteverdi with some other now trending composers like Cavalli and some hidden treasures (Rossi Orfeo!
What a marvelous night of Italian songs! The lovely Anna Bonitatibus brought some friends to present Italian songs from the 19th century. They ranged from solo voice to duets and ensembles. Serena Farnocchia has a resounding voice full of power that suited perfectly Mercadante cantanta. Rocco Cavalluzzi has an interesting voice too and sung his parts quite well. Anna herself was great, bringing her very expressive voice to those songs taking much care of the text.
There were many special things in this concert. The programme included the two main work for clarinet quintet: those by Mozart and Brahms. It was not the usual established string quartet joined by an external clarinetist but all were “external” and friends joining for this concert. There were also two additional short pieces added the to announced programme. But they were not given as encores but as prefaces to the two main works.
My last concert of the year was a rather disappointing one. Perhaps I had very high expectation on Concerto Italiano or perhaps my last live Bach’s Musical Offer was too good (Lina Tur, Alexis Kossenko, Marco Testori and Kenneth Weiss). Since the beginning, the Trio Sonata BWV 1039 and canons BWV 1087, I had the feeling that all musicians from Concerto Italiano (a reduced 5 part ensemble) were sad. It was not only they were been serious, concentrated of deep into the music, no, they was sadness on the stage.
This was a sold out concert at Wigmore Hall. Not sure if it was because of the interesting 20th century programme, because of the two famous soloists, because of the glamour of one of them or because of the kink of seeing together two very different personalities. I was in because all of those and because I enjoyed their previous visits to London. Wang belongs to this class of technically perfect pianists.
There were two different performances of Bach Christmas Oratorio in London the same day at the same time: London Philharmonic Orchestra with Jurowski at Royal Festival Hall and Dunedin Consort with John Butt at Wigmore Hall. My choice was the later, because I believe that this work is better presented in a HIP way and because I really wanted to listen to Dunedin Consort after having enjoyed very much their recording of Bach passions.
This was a nice concert by The English Concert. Despite having children singing. I grow up in a post-Harnoncourt world where boys choirs to do HIP church baroque music was already demodé. Until I came to Britain where, by default, if nothing else is said, choirs haven children. Robert Quinney did a wonderful work not only conducting all the pieces but also introducing them to the audience with some humor.
Very interesting piano recital with Jonathan Biss at Wigmore Hall. Since the very beginning of the sonata K310 we realized it was not the conventional academic Mozart so common nowadays between those clone-like-pianist. His approach was not classic at all, but more like a sturm-und-drang Mozart, emphasizing contrasts with flexible dynamics and subordinating tempi to the narrative. It was a quite valid performance which made a lot of more sense in the context of what was coming next.
Miah Persson is a wonderful soprano that has chosen a intelligent career path rather than taking any role offer from any big opera house. She, Malcom Martineau at the piano, started the recital with a selection of Haydn English Canzonettas. That was a perfect light beginning to warm up the voice and the audience. Then the house special: Mozart. A set of 6 German lieder and the magic Italian song K579 Un moto di gioia.
This review is easy: Benjamin Appl has one of the most beautiful baritone voices I have listened to in the recent years. He is charming and expressive and does a very intelligent singing. And the superb Graham Johnson is one of the top references as lieder pianist from the previous generation. So yes, they made it pretty well. With a programme focused on lieder with oriental themes, without no applause until the intermission it was risky to sing all these songs, with different moods all together almost without interruption.
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