Monday, December 6

BREMF – Myths & Legends of Classical Antiquity – Canzona

- October 23, 2021

This interesting programme of French Baroque Cantatas and chamber works was not well served by the richly resonant church acoustic. Mark Caudle’s beautifully full-voiced viola da gamba stole the sound from harpsichord and many of the bass notes of bass-baritone Stuart O’Hara. Theresa Caudle’s violin fared better but again at the cost of the harpsichord. People at both the front and back of the audience could not hear much detail in Alastair Ross’ virtuoso playing. We could sense the elegant phrasing and refined passage work, we just couldn’t hear it. O’Hara’s warm baritone blended beautifully with the ensemble, at the cost of the drama. There was a lot of rage and bitterness in the texts which didn’t get much beyond his music stand. To get the best from this concert I needed to follow the lyrics and translations closely. O’Hara’s French diction was fine, once I had read the words and could extract them from the blended sound. Even in ‘Le Labyrinthe’, an instumental piece by Marin Marais, the harpsichord was drowned and the astonishing viola da gamba technique was blurred, the brilliant effects lost. We were left with a lovely embrace of sound that needed a much drier acoustic.

St Martin’s Church,
22 October, 2021
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Andrew Connal

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