Wednesday 30 January 2013

Academy of Ancient Music

Picture credit Marco Borggreve
The Academy of Ancient Music's 2013/14 London season all takes place entirely at the Barbican with them taking advantage of the new Milton Court Concert Hall for many of the concerts. It is an entirely luscious season, starting with Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and moving through Bach, Vivaldi and Handel to Mozart and Beethoven taking in music by JS Bach's sons and grandson, and finishing with Beethoven's Choral Symphony. Artists appearing include Alina Ibragimova, Andreas Scholl, Angelika Kirschlager and Richard Tognetti.

The two large scale events are the performance of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and Handel's Messiah at the Barbican, which I have previewed in an earlier post. Handel's Messiah will also be performed in Kings College Chapel, Cambridge (18 December 2013)

The new Milton Court development for Guildhall School of Music and Drama will include a 608 seat concert hall. The Academy of Ancient Music is taking advantage of this and using the smaller scale venue to perform music more suited to an intimate venue. They will also be developing a range of activities with Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning, and continuing their work with the young professionals from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The first concert in the Milton Court Concert Hall will be Alina Ibragimova playing Haydn's Violin Concerto No 1 and Mozart's Violin Concerto No 5  'Turkish' as well as directing Haydn's Symphony No. 45, 'Farewell' and Mozart's Symphony No 10.  (24 October, Milton Court; 23 October, Cambridge)

Anna Prohaska (who recently appeared at Wigmore Hall with Arcangelo), joins the orchestra for an evening of English baroque music with Richard Egarr directing.. Prohaska sings Purcell songs and arias from Handel's Rinaldo, Amadigi di Gaula and Samson, plus orchestral music by Purcell, Arne, Locke and Handel. The result covers the whole of English baroque from Locke's 1674 music to The Tempest to Handel's Samson from 1741, taking in his first opera for England (Rinaldo in 1711). (21 November, Milton Court)

Inevitably the concert with Andreas Scholl is in the main Barbican concert hall. Scholl and Camilla Tilling sing Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, along with Vivaldi's Salve Regina and Stabat Mater plus two concertos by Wassenaer which were originally attributed to Pergolesi. (31 January 2014, Barbican Hall)

Richard Tognetti (director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra) directs the orchestra in a concert devoted to the music written for the court orchestra in Dresden, renowned as one of the finest in the 18th century world. They play music by Vivaldi, Pisendel, Fasch, Veracini and Bach; both Pisendel and Veracini led the orchestra, Vivaldi dedicated concertos to it and Bach was inspired by the orchestra's repertoire, notably their speciality of playing concertos with multiple solo instruments. (27 February 2014, Milton Court; 26 February 2014, Cambridge)

Austrian mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirschlager makes a welcome appearance singing Mozart and Haydn. She starts with some Mozart lieder, then sings Haydn's Scena di Berenice, a remarkable 10 minute scene which shows just what an operatic composer Haydn could sometimes be. Finally a group of Mozart arias, Al desio di chi t’adora (a replacement aria for a revival The Marriage of Figaro when Mozart replaced both of Susanna's arias for the singer Adriana Ferrarese del Bene), Alma grande e nobil core (written for the soprano Louise Villeneuve who created Dorabella) and the glorious Ch'io mi scordi di te which sets a text from Idomeneo but adds a substantial solo piano part as well. There is nothing quite like in the repertoire, it was written for Nancy Storace (the first Susanna) with Mozart playing the piano part. Richard Egarr directs and will be playing the forte piano. Also in the programme is music by the London Bach, JC Bach, plus a rare opportunity to hear music by his brother JCF Bach as well as music by JC Bach's grandson WFE Bach. All in all a truly delectable concert. (26 March 2014, Milton Court; 24 March 2014, Cambridge)

The ensemble's final concert in Milton Court Concert Hall is an all Bach one, JC Bach this time, with Richard Egarr directing a programme of Bach's orchestral suites and harpsichord concertos. (27 May 2014, Milton Court; 24 May 2014, Cambridge). The final concert of their season sees Richard Egarr on the podium directing the last symphonies of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, with Elizabeth Watts, Daniela Lehner, Benjamin Hulett and Andrew Foster-Williams soloists in the Beethoven. The choir is the Choir of the Academy of Ancient Music joined by AMMplify new generation choir made up of the best young singers from London and Cambridge.

The ensemble have a lively touring programme and many of these programmes are being performed on tour; additionally there is a lively subscription season at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge and I've indicated the Cambridge dates above where relevant. Further information from Academy of Ancient Music website.

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