Concert 3 - Wednesday 7 December 2016 at 8pm Print

LONDON HANDEL PLAYERS Baroque ensemble

ELIZABETH CRAGG** soprano

 

Telemann      Paris Quartet No. 3 in A major  

"The playing, both individually

and collectively, is impeccable..."

EARLY MUSIC REVIEW                     

Leclair           Violin Sonata No. 8 in D major   
Campra         Cantata: Arion   
Bach             Aria: Bete aber auch dabei from Cantata BWV 115             

"Her singing was beautiful in

timbre and impressive in

characterization of the text..."

BACHTRACK.COM 

Vivaldi           Recorder Sonata in G minor, Op. 13 No. 6
 /Chédeville  from Il Pastor Fido
 

 Handel          German Arias: Süsser Blumen Ambraflocken HWV

                    204; Meine Seele hört im Sehen HWV 207

 

 ** We regret that Ruby Hughes has been forced to withdraw from this concert on medical advice,

but we are delighted that she has been replaced by the soprano Elizabeth Cragg,

who has performed many times with Adrian Butterfield and the London Handel Players.

 

       

 

Regular appearances at Wigmore Hall and many of the leading festivals in the UK, Europe and North America have resulted in a large following for this excellent baroque chamber ensemble. With them comes Ruby Hughes, winner of both the First Prize and the Audience Prize at the 2009 London Handel Singing Competition, also a BBC New Generation Artist 2011/13, who is at home in a wide baroque repertoire as well as lieder and opera.

 

The programme consists of early-eighteenth century music from both France and Germany. Much of it features the skill of Rachel Brown, whose flute and recorder playing has been compared to that of Orpheus. Leclair was the founder of the French violin school and Campra a leading opera composer between Lully and Rameau. Chédeville published a collection of his own music as Vivaldi's op 13!

 

Concert Review

 

Virtuosity and emotion at the Ilkley Concert Club

 

Virtuosity is the least we have come to expect from Britain's early music groups – and the London Handel Players certainly did not disappoint at this concert. But virtuosity is not enough to capture the range of emotions which baroque composers sought to evoke in their audiences. Here too we were well served as they moved us to both sadness and joy.

 

The subtitle was 'Beg, borrow or steal' and we started with one of Telemann's Paris quartets, pirated by a French publisher, causing Telemann to make a visit to Paris and write a further set of quartets! In general the balance between the instruments was excellent throughout but I felt that here Rachel Brown's flute was a little overshadowed by Adrian Butterfield's violin. He then performed with great panache a lively sonata by the French virtuoso, LeClair, with an independent part for the violoncello piccolo of Katherine Sharman. Then Elizabeth Cragg (soprano) joined the group for a cantata by André Campra. This highly ornamented French vocal music is a taste I am still acquiring but one could not help but admire the skill with which the voice and flute matched each other perfectly as they interwove their lines in what was effectively a duet.

 

Elizabeth Cragg's singing of Bach's tender prayer for forgiveness – Bete aber ich dabei – was a wonderfully moving start to the second half. Then Rachel Brown took up the treble recorder, the mouthpiece of which had been kept warm within her dress, to play a Vivaldian sonata now known to be by Nicholas Chédeville. She left us in no doubt that she is a skilled player of this instrument too, fully in control of both a fluid legato and a breath-takingly agility. Two further arias by Handel concluded the programme before a Handel encore – 'As steals the morn' from Il moderato - delighted the King's Hall audience, revealing the versatile Lawrence Cummings (harpsichord) as having a pleasing tenor voice!

CJS

 

The folowing recordings were reccomended in the concert programme

 

Telemann

My preferred version is on Brilliant Classics 93649 (3 CDs for the cost of 1 full price), and includes all 6 Paris Quartets plus 6 Paris New Quartets, performed by Jed Wentz (flute) and Musica ad Rhenum.

 

Leclair

A medium price Naxos disc (8.572866) includes Violin Sonatas Nos. 1-5 and No.8 from Book 2. Adrian Butterfield (violin), Jonathon Manson (viola da gamba) and Laurence Cummings (harpsichord) are the performers.

 

Campra

Les Arts Florissants conducted by William Christie are the superb artists on a budget price Harmonia Mundi CD (HMA 1951238), which contains 4 Cantatas, including "Arion".

 

Bach Cantatas

Nos. BWV 49, 115 and 180 are included on a very fine Naïve medium price disc (NC 40031). The soloists include Barbara Schlick (soprano), with the Concerto Vocale Leipzig and Ensemble Baroque de Limoges conducted by Christopher Coin.

 

Vivaldi/Chédeville

The Collegium Pro Musica, an Italian group, are the accomplished performers in all 6 Op.13 Sonatas on a super budget Brilliant Classics CD (95077). The recording quality is excellent.

 

Handel

Probably the best way to buy these German Arias is via the Erato 5 CD box (0825646112265), which is available for less than the price of 1 full price CD. Emma Kirkby (soprano) is the featured artist in the set, and the other 4 discs include Dowland, De Wert Madrigals, "A Vauxhall Gardens Entertainment" and songs by Robert Jones. This set really is a superb bargain.
Raymond Waud

 

Club Notes for this Concert

 

ILKLEY CONCERT CLUB'S FAMOUS CD STALL 

 

It was started by Tony Hudson 12 years ago and has been generating a regular income ever since — see our website.

These things sneak up on one, so I was extremely surprised when Tony said in October that the total income from the stall has now exceeded £10,000 – that is all profit that goes to the Club.

 

This is a contribution to ICC reserves that no one could have expected when the stall started. Because it has accumulated gradually over 12 years as a nice annual contribution, its long term significance certainly slipped under my radar. To give an idea of the scale of what he has achieved, I guess it is already about a quarter of what we would need, for example, if we were to buy a good quality Steinway piano sometime in the future.

 

Tony Hudson has organised the CD sales with huge energy and enthusiasm. Much credit also goes to his helpers. Richard Rundle and Tony have brought to a fine art, the complicated business of setting up and dismantling the CD stall for each concert. Each concert evening Liz Huddleston and Tony are there to serve the customers. Another feature of this amazing venture is the buzz that it creates amongst the Members.

 

But as Tony points out, the success would have been impossible without so many generous gifts of CDs AND so many enthusiastic buyers – he wants to thank them all for so much support. There have been many small gifts of CDs no longer listened to; shopping bags and boxes full; and the Philips Complete Mozart Edition of 184 CDs, many of classic recordings, was a wonderful surprise gift. When Geoffrey Kinder, our talented writer of programme notes and reviews downsized in moving south to be near to family this year, several hundred arrived - we can expect some very interesting CDs to appear on the stall once Tony has had time to organise these.

 

We should not underestimate the huge amount of effort that Tony puts into pricing the CDs and organising the stall to make it easier for customers to find what they want. Over the years he has improved the display enormously.

 

Thank you Tony Hudson—this is a truly amazing achievement.