Rather like the humble egg or potato, one of the nicest things about Baroque music is that, however you serve it up, it usually provides a satisfying result.
Conductor, Simon Ible, is a past-master of inventive programming, and this highly-effective mix of the familiar and less-familiar, preceded by the now-customary introductions – themselves entertaining confections of historical fact and amusing anecdote – proved a winning combination.
Handel’s D major Suite provided a bright and breezy opening, with trumpeter, David Shead, eminently able to cope with the high-octane tessitura.
Telemann’s somewhat quirky ‘Les nations anciennes et modernes’ afforded an interesting interlude, although the final movement seemed rather drawn out, and less satisfying as a conclusion.
Space unfortunately dictated that Bach’s F minor keyboard concerto be given on the piano, and though Jonathan Watts’s articulate performance sought to convey every nuance, the harpsichord’s distinctive timbre might still have been the worthier protagonist.
Telemann’s Trumpet Concerto in D demonstrated David Shead’s equally-impressive ability to produce well-rounded tone at every dynamic level.
However, Bach’s Double Violin Concerto emerged head and shoulders above all else.
For here was such wonderful chemistry between Malcolm Latchem and Catherine Hayek, resulting not only in a flawless ensemble, but one where both players’ tonal and expressive individuality still shone through.
With equally sympathetic accompaniment, this was surely one of the best string experiences for a long while.
PHILIP R BUTTALL