A programme of wall-to-wall Vivaldi attracted an encouragingly large audience to the splendid St Augustine’s Church on a very cold night, to enjoy performances from the period-instrument band La Serenissima which were sprightly and lively, crisply delivered.
The evening got off to a strange start, however, with background music of a Bach Cello Suite to welcome us, but then colliding with the tuning-up of the orchestra.
And, as seems to be customary with such instruments, there was also quite a bit of tuning as the concert progressed, possibly testing the patience of the listeners.
But there were some lovely sounds from La Serenissima as they guided us through several concerti from Vivaldi’s seminal L’Estro Armonico publication: director Adrian Chandler’s violin fluent, almost gipsy-like at times; Carina Cosgrave’s double bass eloquently communicative; Robert Howarth’s harpsichord imaginatively turned; and, above all, the resonant theorbo of Lynda Sayce. There was some musicological interest too, with the British premiere of an early version of the Concerto in G minor, recently discovered in Dresden, and followed by the better-known version, more fully-textured.
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