Monday 1 March 2010

London Handel Festival

On Friday we were at St. George's Hanover Square again for another concert with the London Handel Festival. This time it was Southbank Sinfonia Baroque. The Southbank Sinfonia are a training ensemble of young UK music graduates. The Sinfonia provides an intensive 32 week orchestral apprenticeship. They are based at St. John's Church, Waterloo and do regular rush-hour concerts there. The ensemble is a modern instrument one but the concert on Friday was the result of a week of workshops with Adrian Butterfield; the strings played using gut strings and with baroque bows. The results were creditable and rather stylish. The first half included Corelli's Concerto Grosso Opus 6, No. 11 and a suite from Rameau's Pygmalion, plus an overture by Arne and Vivaldi's Concerto con molti stromenti RV577 which gave many of the string and wind players chance to shine.

In the second half conductor Michael Berman took over. Berman directs the choir Vox Music and they provided the vocal resources for a lively performance of Handel's Dixit Dominus. The soprano solo was sung by Grace Davidson, with the remaining soloists coming from the choir. The choir sopranos seemed to find the upper ranges of the soprano line a little of a strain and the choir's attack wasn't as crisp as it could have been. But all in all it was an enjoyable performance.

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