The Lufthansa Festival of Baroque Music runs from 10 to 17 May 2013, with concerts principally at St. Johns Smith Square, with excursions to Westminster Abbey and St Peter's Eaton Square. This year's festival gives us the opportunity to hear a variety of European ensembles, including the Gabrieli Consort, the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the European Union Baroque Orchestra in a fine selection of music centred on England and France in the 17th and 18th centuries, with a very loose theme of the seasons running through the event.
The festival opens with Paul McCreesh and the Gabrieli Consort and Players performing Handel's L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, (10 May) giving concert goers the opportunity to compare and contrast as Lawrence Cummings is conducting the same work to conclude this year's London Handel Festival.
The solo violin features on Saturday 11 May with two concerts themed on the Seasons. Pavlo Beznosiuk performs Christopher Simpson's The Seasons. Simpson was a 17th century English composer who worked in the household of Sir Robert Bolles in Lincolnshire. In the evening Enrico Onofri and Iamginarium Ensemble perform Vivaldi's The Four Seasons plus nature themed music by Janequin, Merula, Biber and Uccellini. In between the two concerts there is a lecture by Richard Mabey on the relationship between natural science and music.
There is more 17th century English music on 14 May with lutenist Elizabeth Kenny with Sophie Daneman and Matthew Brook in Country Life: Pastoral songs and duets from 17th century England. Still in 17th England, the festival's annual visit to Westminster Abbey sees the choir of Westminster Abbey and St James Baroque under conductor James O'Donnell performing music by Purcell including My beloved spake and Hail Bright Cecilia with soloists including Mary Bevan, James Laing, Charles Daniels, Andrew Tortise and Jonathan Sells.
The European Union Baroque Orchestra directed by Lars Ulrik Mortensen are joined by soprano Maria Keohane (13 May) in an all Handel programme which includes the cantata Ero e Leandro, the motet Silete Venti and Concerto Grosso No. 6 op. 2
Moving to France, Florilegium under their director Ashley Solomons, (16 May) perform nature themed works by Marais, Morel, Couperin, Rebel, Blavet and Rameau. And the theme continues with Ensemble La Fenice, director Jean Tubery (17 May) in a programme called The Song of the Birds with music by Monteverdi, Quagliati, Pesenti, Frescobaldi, Merula, Van Eyck, Marini and Moulinie. And Le Jardin Secret follow on the theme with a Saturday afternoon concert (18 May) entitle Fete Champetre with arias by Lully, Charpentie, Rameau and others.
A late evening concert on 17 May sees Garth Knox (viola d'amore) and Agnes Vesterman (cello) mixing baroque and 18th century works with modern date compositions and variations.
The festival finale sees soprano Carolyn Sampson and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, director Gottfried von der Goltz performing Baroque on the High Seas, operatic arias by Handel and Vivaldi, plus Telemans tribute to the Hamburg Port Authority!
Further information from the festival website. General Booking opens 4 Feburary 2013, see the St Johns Smith Square website for details.Elsewhere on this blog: