KINGS'S LYNN FESTIVAL: London Handel Players perform works by Telemann, Vivaldi, Back and Herschel at St Nicholas' Chapel
Six carefully, but deliberately, chosen works by German and Italian composers were expertly delivered by the London Handel Players on Saturday night.
Spanning the 17th and 18th centuries, Telemann, Vivaldi, Bach and Herschel's pieces each captured this year's Festival theme of Science and Arts, but in vastly contrasting ways.
The recital at St Nicholas' Chapel, in St Ann's Street, opened with Telemann's Concerto for Recorder and Flute, just one of more than 3,000 works from possibly the most prolific composer of music in history.
It was chance for the group's flute and recorder players, Rachel Brown and Olwen Foulkes, to put down a marker for some of the equally demanding pieces to come.
Vivaldi's Concerto for Violin and Cello came next, described in the programme notes as having a "richness of melody and invention" which was justified by violinists Adrian Butterfield, Laura Vadjon, Bill Thorp, viola player Rachel Byrt and cellist Kath Sharman.
But for the kind of baroque chamber music that this particular Festival feature was set aside for, Johann Sebastian Bach is very much the composer of choice and his Concerto for Two Violins and Strings simply crackled with intergalactic precision and complexity, something which kept the London Handel Players fully on their toes.
Bass player Kate Brooke and harpsichordist Silas Wollston simply shone as instruments and musicians united in musical harmony to celebrate the genius of a classical music benchmark.
The recital's second half was fittingly opened with William Herschel's Symphony for Strings, fittingly because of the composer's reputation as an astronomer and scientist of note whose name was given to the European Space Agency's observatory, actually a telescope that studied the elements and characteristics of the universe.
As for the music, discipline and structure was the key, both in terms of instrumental activity and musical expression.
Rachel Brown made a comeback for Vivaldi's Flute Concerto in D Minor, known as Il Gran Mogol (The Grand Moghul) because of its connection to India and only performed regularly by music ensembles since 2010 after it was rediscovered in Scotland following an interval of 250 years.
The recital ended with a sample of Bach's mighty Brandenburg Concerto, composed of three movements that combined grace, emotion and celebration on a night when the Festival took a memorable musical leap for West Norfolk mankind.
Review by Winston Brown
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