REVIEW: Salisbury Baroque

SALISBURY Baroque is a group of mainly local players who play on authentic instruments, and have developed into a very polished and unified band.

The guests for this concert, entitled Lament, Rage, Love, were lead violin and director Theresa Caudle and bass singer Ben Davies, whose creamy, apparently effortless sound, pitch-perfect and clearly enunciated, suited all three moods of the title.

The first half had a distinctly minor-key feel, with Jan Dismas Zelenka’s Lamentations of Jeremiah for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.

None of the composer’s reputation for eccentricity was evident here, and Davies seemed to have an infinite reserve of breath for its long, keening lines.

In between the two Lamentations came an Ouverture in G minor by Johann Fux - a suite of lively dances which the orchestra brought off with relish.

After the interval, the mood lightened for an unexpected Bach Cantata in Italian, Amore traditore, which showed Davies’ voice off to perfection.

Then came Zelenka’s Hypocondrie. The music lurched from major to minor in a quite disturbing way at times, even if the words had not yet acquired their modern meaning.

Finally came one of Handel’s spectacular “angry” arias from Giulio Cesare, in which Davies showed his command of the florid lines and changing moods in grand style.

The concerts of Salisbury Baroque continue to impress, and this was quite well supported, at least by adults.

My only question was, where were the young people? They get free entrance if only they will accept the invitation.

PETER GROVE

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