- June 6, 2021
After the Covid break, Brighton Early Music Festival’s devotees mustered again joyfully in a novel venue, a different season and changed times but with all the usual élan and assured production values.
A glade of dappled sunshine and rustling foliage framed an antique colonnade, altogether an enchanting space for this elegant selection of works by Charpentier, Rameau, Couperin, and Lully. The players ignored the ambient sounds: a throaty blackbird and an insistent pigeon, the nearby playground, occasional motorbikes, a passing bi-plane. Fortunately the ice-cream van moved quick on!
Yu-Wei Hu’s subtle flutings evoke birdsong well enough indoors but were even more convincing al fresco, supported by Magdalena Loth-Hill (violin) and Henrik Persson (viola da gamba), with the agile Johan Löfving on theorbo and a guitar that doubled as an impromptu drum. Soprano Emily Atkinson’s flawless tone and clear diction completed this beguiling ensemble with some graceful moves and an exquisite performance of Montéclair’s short Cantata ‘Pan et Syrinx’. I’m sure I heard the blackbird joining in. The twilight performance will have been enhanced by the sensitive colour washes provided by lighting specialists Pitch Black.
5th June, 2021