19 September 2018

Never enough

Lauren Davis convenes the Limestone Consort. They play Bach and other composers of the period but also, if less frequently, from other periods. This concert featured Telemann, Albinoni and two works by JS Bach. Someone had said they can never have too much Bach. I feel it too. Obviously it's a function of Bach's brilliance, but I wonder if it's also a musical style that suits our times. After all, he was lost at one time to be revived by Mendelssohn, his son JC was more popular in his time and his cellos suites, now considered great masterworks, were also little known before being repopularised by Pablo Casals in the 1936. So Bach has had his forgotten times. But for us and our time, he's a sublime genius. The two works here were his double violin concerto and his Brandenburg concerto no.3. Both are instantly recognisable for several themes even if you can't name them. I'd played Brandenburg 3 so wanted to hear it again, and I was again amused by that diminutive second movement, but this day I was most taken by the double violin concerto. It was a thing of sublime beauty so I could have had more Bach. But the other two were interesting. Lauren had likened Telemann/JS Bach to Art Deco/Nouveau. I guess in that order, even if it's out of precedential order. I think Bach would be the mellifluous one (Nouveau) but then the dignity and order (Deco) might also be with him. The Telemann was his Burlesque de Quixote, a suite of 8 movements telling the Don Quixote story which seemed pretty ordered and simple against the Bach. You could hear amorous breathing and horse galloping and otherwise but it didn't cut to either intellect or heart like the Bach. But then I also have respect for quantity as well as quality and Telemann is apparently the most prolific composer in history: 1,043 church cantatas and 43 passions amongst the rest. Albinoni was no slouch either, penning about 50 operas alone, although many are lost. All interesting and all worthy enough, but Bach remains supreme. The playing was great. I thoroughly enjoyed the pairing of violins in the concerto; Kyle laid down some outstanding bass lines and quick, quippy fills; we were sitting right next to Lauren and could enjoy her lead and phrasing and bowing and the rest. That intimacy is a thing I also greatly love. Give me a decent player in an intimate setting anytime. So, a lovely concert with some outstanding music from one of my favourite ensembles around town.

Limestone Consort performed Telemann, Albinoni and JSBach at All Saints Ainslie. LC comprised Lauren Davis, Michelle Higgs, Claire Phillip and Matthew Witney (violins), Iska Sampson and Elysia Fisher (violas), Clara Teniswood and Nicole Wang (cellos), Kyle Ramsay-Daniel (bass) and James Porteus (organ).

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