London Handel Festival – Trinity Laban Baroque Orchestra

Concerto Grosso in D, Op.6/1
Fidicinium Sacro-Profano – Sonata in B minor
Orlando – O care parolette
Judas Maccabaeus – So Shall the Lute and Harp Awake
Concerto Grosso in G minor, Op.6/6

Marta Ramirez & Alizia Vicente (violins), Maya Enokida & Heather Bourne (violas) and Kristina Chalmovska (cello)

Angela Hicks (soprano)

Trinity Laban Baroque Orchestra
Walter Reiter

Reviewed by: Curtis Rogers

Reviewed: 21 March, 2013
Venue: St George’s, Hanover Square, London

Walter ReiterThe members of Trinity Laban Baroque Orchestra are from the eponymous conservatoire of music and dance. Although of undergraduate and postgraduate age, they showed great sensitivity interpreting these works as meaningful wholes of varying character.

To begin this lunchtime programme they performed the first of Corelli’s influential Opus 6, the seven movements taken as a series of three Largo-Allegro pairs, rounded off by a ‘Gigue’ recapitulating previous liveliness, playfulness and drama. The first Largo ended with a well-judged sigh, while in the second pair the Largo flowed imperceptibly into the faster music. Although Biber’s Fidicinium Sacro-Profano of 1683 is termed a set of 12 Sonatas, they are larger in terms of instrumentation than we would regard as standard for that genre. The B minor example features pairs of violins and violas, a cello and harpsichord. Another seven-movement work, it reverses the structure of the Corelli, ending with an Adagio, the emotional weight resting on the slow movements, the allegros little more than frenetic if surprising upbeats. The violists contributed a darker sonority but sometimes were a little blurred.

Two vibrant arias by Handel came next – from an opera and an oratorio – sung by Angela Hicks, a soothing voice if somewhat restrained and insufficiently sparkling for these extracts, but she can certainly improve on this, and the unaffected innocence of her tone was not out of place. Lastly, in Handel’s Opus 6/6 there was an impassioned mood, evidenced in the long-breathed lines often allowed to die away to evoke tragedy. This was not to the detriment of an insistent, even curt, character elsewhere, commensurate with G minor. The haunting ‘Musette’ was charming and intimate, though its distinctive Scotch-snap rhythm was too smoothed over and not clearly articulated, Overall, the only real flaw was that the playing was not always unanimous in intonation.

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