Saturday 28 March 2009

Daniel Taylor at the Wigmore Hall

The London Handel Festival decamped to the Wigmore Hall on Friday for a recital entitled Famous Castrati Arias for Sensino and his rivals, given by counter-tenor Daniel Taylor and the London Handel Orchestra directed by Adrian Butterfield.

They opened with a crisp account of Concerto Grosso opus 6 no. 5. With only 12 strings the sound was lithe and lively rather than luxuriant, but this fitted in well with the Wigmore Hall's chamber music ethos, and you could hardly have fitted many more people on stage. Afterwards they were joined by Rachel Brown for Telemann's Flute Concerto in D major, TWV51:D3. An attractive and charming piece that just lacked the memorability of Handel's best pieces.

Then Daniel Taylor sang two arias from Rodelinda. First the accompagnato Pompe vane di morte followed by the aria Dove Sei, then Unolfo's Act 3 aria, Un zeffiro spiro where they are also joined by Rachel Brown on recorder.

Taylor has an attractive bright voice with just a hint of glare at the top when under pressure. He has a naturally dramatic presence coupled with a lively and vivid way with the music. He sang from memory and was instantly communicative whilst still being musical. Despite the drama of his performance, there was still a fine sense of line and good detail.

The second half opened with the 8th concerto from the Opus 6 set, again in a lively and lithe performance. Taylor followed this with a brilliant performance of Cara Sposa from Rinaldo. Though written for Nicolini, Senesino sang the aria at a revival of Rinaldo in 1731. The printed programme concluded with a pair of Tolomeo's arias from Giulio Cesare. Taylor's Tolomeo was certainly not effete, but nasty and vicious. Both arias were vividly done and one could not have looked for more drama coupled with musicianship.

Taylor spoke between each group of arias, introducing them and relating anecdotes from his previous performances. He has a natural and winning manner and his spoken introductions helped make the concert something special. As an encore he did an aria from The Choice of Hercules, again joined by Rachel Taylor's recorder.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous5:24 pm

    Place à Purcell à la 7ème édition du Festival Montréal Baroque !
    Du 25 au 28 juin 2009
    From 25 to 28 June 2009

    Cette année, Montréal Baroque célèbre le 350e anniversaire de la naissance d’Henry Purcell. Compositeur très populaire, Purcell est décédé jeune, à 36 ans, de causes mystérieuses. Une rumeur voudrait qu’il ait succombé à une surdose d’une nouvelle boisson apparue en Europe à l’époque : le chocolat. L’idée d’apparier les plaisirs du chocolat et de la merveilleuse musique de Purcell nous a complètement séduits, d’où le thème de notre Festival et ses plaisirs chocolatés!

    This year's Festival celebrates the 350th anniversary of Henry Purcell's birth. His premature death at the age of 36, was suspected to be the tragic result of an overdose of chocolate, the new drug that had recently ravaged the unsuspecting population of the Fairest Isle!
    Montreal Baroque invites you to a marathon of Purcell's music and the opportunity to follow in the master's footsteps by overdosing on chocolate, if you wish!
    La programmation contient un concert bénéfice hors-série pour le Theatre of Early Music dirigé par Daniel Taylor
    Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
    Hymn to St. Cecilia

    Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
    Anthem Remember not O Lord

    Henry Purcell
    Anthem Hear my prayer

    William H. Harris (1883-1973)
    Anthem Faire is the Heaven

    Thomas Tallis (1510-1585)
    Motet O nata lux

    Nicolas Gombert (v.1505-v.1556)
    Motet Tulerunt Dominum

    Benjamin Britten
    Hymn to the Virgin


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