Thomas Quasthoff & Berliner Barock Soloisten

Cantata, BWV42 – Sinfonia
Cantata, BWV57 – Ja, ich kann die Feinde schlagen
Musical Offering, BWV1079 – Six-part Ricercar
Cantata, BWV73 – Ach, unser Wille bleibt verkehrt; Herr, so du willt, so schicks mit mir
Cantata, BWV82 – Mein Gott! Wann kommt das schöne Nun!; Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod
Messiah – Overture; For behold; The people that walked
Concerto grosso in B flat, Op.3/2
Joshua – Oh Joshua, both to rule; Oh first in wisdom; Sinfonia; The walls are levell’d; See the raging flames

Thomas Quasthoff (bass-baritone)

Berliner Barock Soloisten
Rainer Kussmaul (violin)

Reviewed by: Paul Hutchinson

Reviewed: 11 March, 2009
Venue: Barbican Hall, London

Thomas QuasthoffThis concert was the second of a projected five given by the superb Thomas Quasthoff in the Barbican Centre’s “Great Performers” series.

One stared hard at the details and wondered at the piecemeal programming; arias (some withrecitatives, others without) and instrumental pieces.

Nonetheless, it provided the opportunity to hear Quasthoff bringing his peerless artistry to this music. Firm tone, spot-on intonation informed his first offering (BWV57) then creating an intimate and prayerful atmosphere in BWV73 and dark-hued and expressive in BWV82.The second half of the concert opened with a funereal performance of the ‘Overture’ to “Messiah”, and in the following recitative and aria, Quasthoff caught the mood,but seemed somewhat over-parted by the aria’s low tessitura. The recitatives and arias from “Joshua” revealed Quasthoff’s operatic style, as well as wise, lively and dramatic.

Berlin Baroque Soloists use original instruments that have undergone a degree of modernisation! Greater variety of tone would have been welcome but the Handel Concerto grosso Op.3 was brimful of musicianship. This was a most enjoyable recital.

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