- October 27, 2020
Every year BREMF Live! is one of my favourite events. It is such a pleasure to see how the mentoring of the BREMF Live! scheme enables the young performers to grow in confidence, stage skills and poise; their enormous talent and innate musicianship has been apparent from the start.
It must have been very difficult to select just four acts from the illustrious back-catalogue. The magical precision of singers Emily Burn, Victoria Couper & Clemmie Franks, performing as the ensemble Voice, makes an excellent start to this showcase of emergent talent.
Their programme has the widest chronological span, from Hildegard to her modern-day exponent Stevie Wishart, which stylishly demonstrates how Early Music influences contemporary composition.
The charming Dramma per Musica, Rory Carver (tenor), Jonatan Bougt (theorbo) and Harry Buckoke (viola da gamba & lirone) give us the ardent emotions of courtly life, love and death.
If you enjoyed their work in Orfeo and Dafne then you’ll love this offering. The clarity of diction and the responsiveness of the accompaniment bring out the conversational quality of the songs. They end with their earliest work, O death, rock me asleep, supposedly written by Anne Boleyn, a chilling climax.
In last year’s BREMF Live! showcase concert, Apollo’s Cabinet, Teresa Wrann (recorder), Sophia Prodanova (violin), Francisco Javier González Navarro (cello) and Collin Shay (harpsichord) excited us with a stylish programme full of contrast, including both serenity and frenzy in Vivaldi’s Concerto La Notte.
This year Apolline Khou joins them at the harpsichord to contrast that performance with a contemporary dance suite that François Couperin composed for the more formal Versailles of the Régence. Which did I prefer? The bravura of the Vivaldi or the stately elegance of Couperin? Fortunately it’s not a competition; Apollo’s Cabinet, the perfect stylists, had no trouble with either so we can enjoy both.
Thomas Allery (harpsichord) and Mary-Jannet Leith (recorders) perform as Ensemble Hesperi and seem to have made BREMF a second home. They are joined by Magdalena Loth-Hill (violin) and Florence Petit (cello) in a delightfully varied programme of 17th century chamber works by Telemann and Sammartini along with the much-lauded-in-their-day Scottish composers James Oswald, for a while Chamber Composer to George III, and the rather unconventional Robert Bremner. His Variations on ‘Hit her on the bum’ from a Curious Collection of Scots Themes was enhanced by the authentic highland dancing of Kathleen Gilbert.
The only thing missing from all these performances is thunderous applause.
All these brilliant acts are available on YouTube until next Sunday.
25 October 2020