Baroque Encounters – Opening Concert

Concert I pour deux hautbois, flutes travieres ou violins avec la Basse in C, XVIII Oeuvre
Sonata in D
‘Paris’ Quartet in E minor

Amaranthos Ensemble [Sara Deborah Struntz (violin), Marta Goncalves (flute), Claire Bracher (viola da gamba), Erik Dippenaar (harpsichord) & Elektra Milladon (cello)]

Reviewed by: Robert Matthew-Walker

Reviewed: 12 May, 2008
Venue: St Martin-in-the-Fields, London

Amaranthos EnsembleThe newly refurbished interior of St Martin-in-the-Fields was the setting for “Baroque Encounters”, a new Festival of Baroque music which was launched with this exceptionally well-played programme from the gifted members of the Amaranthos Ensemble. The Festival could hardly have got off to a better start than this, and one expects to hear a lot more from this group of well-matched musicians, clearly of the first rank.

Boismortier’s Concert I was an absolute joy to hear, especially in such a delightful performance – the opening Allegro at once captivating the ear, so musically and elegantly phrased. Pepusch’s D major Sonata, in some contrast, is perhaps a more probing work – at least in terms of depth of expression and rather longer-breathed lines.

Again, this received a compelling account, but it was Telemann’s E minor ‘Paris’ Quartet that, musically, stole the show: a set of free-flowing short movements ending with a long passacaglia-type ‘Modre’, as lengthy as all the preceding movements put together, which, in this absorbing and fully committed performance, raised the level of the work’s inspiration by several cubits.

If the remaining concerts in this “Baroque Encounters” festival match the standards set in the Amaranthos Ensemble’s opening event, then we are in for treats galore.

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