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Mon, 27 September 2004 13:00:00 GMT

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Baroque concert

Once again I went to a Salut! Baroque concert (on friday), this time sporting an Italian theme, giving us concertos by Vivaldi, Caldara (personal favourite), Scarlatti, and of course the man himself, Corelli (another favourite). These guys all perfected the concertino (and hence, the Concerto Grossi) form, the "bigger version" of a trio sonata.

The concert was - as always with Salut! Baroque - splendid, played well. In fact, fridays concert I didn't notice any faults in anyones playing, quite a rare phenomenon when playing with baroque instruments that requires retuning between each concerto. The viola was a bit low, but violins were excelent, played in two distinct styles. Both Nicole Forsyth and Elizabeth Pogson (both on Baroque Violin) I felt did a splendid job, no faults I could notice, and played a lot more relaxed than I have seen them before. I was especially impressed with Nicoles natural way of playing and rythmic phrasing without sounding staccato. Valmai Coggins (on baroqe viola) was a good background player.

Deeper in the string section was Tim Blomfield on his bass violin, always adding a perfect continuo. The lovely Anthea Cottee impressed me yet again on her baroque cello; she was the designated italian on this occasion, emotional and warm and concentrated and leading all at once. Not only is she playing with impressive skills, but her presence on stage is wonderful, a joy to behold, and - I have to admit - a somewhat opposite to the unenthusiastic and sometimes bored-looking Tim.

The recorder pair of Hans-Dieter Michatz and Sally Melhuish both did their usual good job. Hans-Dieter pulled off some really largo sections with impressive results, although I've seen him do bigger miracles before. Also, the harpsichordist Monika Kornel was warm and subtle in her playing, always on key, never exploiting her many keys, although I did miss her in the lower end of the keyboard.

The first part of the concert was good, good phrasings, very on-time and sometimes emotional, but as we often get when non-italians play italian, a somewhat streamlined approach. But after the break they did losen up a bit, and as they did Corelli (an adaption of my favourite Concerto III in C minor, here in D, I think, to fit the recorders in ... ), Caldara and Corelli again, they really sparked. It was a bit of a shame we had to wait a bit for it all to click into place, but once they got there, they were brilliant, and yet again I'd like to point to Nicole Forsyth and Anthea Cottee for being brilliant players and for having an emotional and natural approach to both playing the music and being on stage.

If I have only one thing to say about the conert as a whole, it is the same as applies to all of their concerts; there is a great distance between the audience and the music played. For instance, there is no talking, no introductions, no history, no reason for why they did their music in this or that way. The program does make up for bits of it, but I would love to hear it from the musicians themselves why they're doing what they're doing, talk about their passion and share the joy of the music with us, apart from the given performance. I know this is simply a personal preference though; a lot of people love just to sit back, gets something presented, and not have to think or really pay attention to it.

Once again, I thank the group from the bottom of my heart for coming to Canberra; they make my life here seem worthwhile because of it. Thanks!

Permalink (Mon, 27 September 2004 13:00:00 GMT)| Comments (1) | Opinions
( Tue, May 3 2005 - 11:05:35 )
I found this when I was searching for my teacher's name, 'Tim Blomfield'. He had a good laugh at your comment :) He loved it !