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REVIEW: Salisbury Baroque
4:45pm Thursday 3rd October 2013 in Entertainments
SALISBURY Baroque gave us an absorbing programme of no less than seven concertos by 17th and early 18th century Italian composers.
Led with panache by Catherine Martin, and supported by the sure-footed violin playing of Miranda Dodd, the ensemble included two less well-known instruments: Andrew Kerr’s violone – a double bass-sized instrument which lent a rich and mellow texture to the bass line – and Katarzyna Milek’s theorbo, a nearly six-foot-tall instrument like a large lute.
It was a wide-ranging, contrasting and intelligently composed programme in which the title concerto covered a wide variety of instrumental configurations.
It began with the Concerto Grosso in G minor by Geminiani after Corelli.
The oncerto grosso is a work in which a larger ensemble performs in dialogue with a smaller ensemble and in this first work the interchanges between the sections were engaging, adding interest and colour to the work.
Composers were often relaxed in terms of numbers of performers and modern audiences might have been surprised by how few players were required in the Vivaldi Concerto in B minor for 4 Violins and the Recorder Concerto in C minor by Mancini.
In the latter work Cheri Richens‘s articulate and fluent playing was juxtaposed with the violins of Catherine Martin and Miranda Dodd who negotiated some very tricky corners in the final movement to allow the mellifluous treble recorder to sing through.
Corelli’s Concerto Grosso in D Major was the centrepiece of the concert and the ensemble struck out at a lively pace, playing with commitment and enthusiasm.
The string work was tight and gave the first movement a buoyant and exuberant feel.
The concert culminated in the Concerto Grosso after Corelli’s La Folia by Geminiani.
This work, an extensive set of variations on a Portuguese dance, was the perfect vehicle for Catherine Martin to demonstrate her virtuosity with several passages of astonishing playing and the rest of the ensemble joined in with some sparkling string playing.
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