9 June 2014

To the Queen


It's the weekend we're all happy to have a Queen. And, I guess, to have knights and dames. Limestone Ensemble took the opportunity to present a concert of English music. Handel counts because we was the German composer brought to England when Hanover-born inheritor of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg and prince-elector of Hanover became King of England on the death of Queen Anne because over fifty closer blood relations were Catholics. Go figure. At least the star of this show, Charles Avison, was born in England. Apparently his music has just been rediscovered and the Limestone Ensemble has got a pre-publication print of the sheet music. Good on Limestone, our local Aveson experts. They played two pieces by Aveson, both from his Opus 6, which display a change from concerto grosso style to the beginnings of sonata form. So says the program. I heard his music as dignified, rich in sequences, conversational within the ensemble, and wonderfully ordered. The Consort also played Elgar's Elegy, short and meditative. Handel, of course. We were told that Beethoven said of Handel that "I would bury my head and knee at his grave". Certainly, he's popular and appears frequently. I caught his Dixit Dominus this morning on ABC FM's Top 100 Baroque and before and it's as extravagantly indulgent as much other Handel. It seems impossible not to love this man's music. Also Hubert Parry. He's a much later composer, later 1800s, after the classical period, with richer harmonies, more subtle development and a touch of romance. Think Victorian garden parties and period costume. Limestone Consort are a lovely gathering of likeminded and nicely trained performers. It's a compact chamber string orchestra (12 players), heavy on violins, with organ included for the baroque works. They do it nicely and obviously enjoy the performances. They are now in their third season; just proof of the pleasure of it all. This is a lovely job done on an intriguing branch of the Queen's music.

The Limestone Consort were led by Lauren Davis (violin) with Vanessa Driver, Alison Giles, Sarah Ingram, Alys Rayner and Jacqueline Smith (violins), Elysia Fisher and Hannah Keese (viola), Clara Teniswood and Anneliese McGee-Collett (cello), James Porteous (chamber organ) and Kyle Daniel (bass).

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