Rebekka Hartmann & Caroline Bergius at Menheniot Church (review)

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Even if it had been one of the hottest days so far, this performance by Rebekka Hartmann and Caroline Bergius of Baroque works managed to crank up the temperature somewhat more.

Opening with Geminiani’s E minor Sonata, both instruments combined perfectly, with the glorious tone of the 1675 Stradivarius soaring effortlessly over the rich and varied harpsichord accompaniment, both in the highly-expressive slow sections, and with such neat articulation in the fast movements.

The concept of balancing a solo violin piece in the second half with one for harpsichord alone early on, of course makes for good programme planning.

But on this occasion, Fux’s Capriccio in G minor did prove slightly overlong, and with rather insufficient variety to hold the listener’s attention throughout, despite Caroline Bergius’s stalwart efforts.

But a truly high-octane performance of Tartini’s Devil’s Trill Sonata quickly dispelled any sense of somnolence, where Rebekka Hartmann cast aside the immense technical challenges with great panache, in a performance which so seamlessly combined the best of Baroque practices with true Romantic spirit, though without transgressing any stylistic boundaries.

Bach’s solo Partita in E proved another of the evening’s highlights, where Rebekka brought fresh inspiration and insight to an otherwise well-aired work, leaving the composer’s F minor Sonata, and a nippy little Handel Allegro, to round off a most agreeable evening that really seemed all about two long-standing friends enjoying making music together.


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