Ensemble Guadagni Contribute Warm, Flexible Sound to Davies Recital

20/08/2015

eif-2015-115

 Edinburgh International Festival 2015 (13) –Blow and Purcell: Iestyn Davies (countertenor), Ensemble Guadagni, Queen’s Hall, 19.08.2015 (SRT)

Odes and Stage Music by John Blow and Henry Purcell

Iestyn Davies may have been the headliner for this concert, but the warm, flexible sound of Ensemble Guadagni was, if anything, even more important in making this concert successful. Consisting of two recorders, two violins, viola, viol, theorbo and harpsichord, they seem to be an occasional ensemble, as all the performers are given separate biographies in the programme, rather than one write-up for the band. (They also partnered Davies for his 2010 Wigmore Hall recital disc.) If so, then they’re an assembly of experts, whose knowledge and understanding of the late 17th century soundscape is pretty fantastic.

I loved not only their blend, but also their innate feel for the rhythm and mood of the music they were playing. Their most extended item was the suite from Blow’s Venus and Adonis, but the flecks of colour and shafts of light they repeatedly shot through the whole programme was a joy to behold, the pair of recorders tootling their way beautifully around Purcell’s Strike the viol and coming together to provide a beautiful blanket of sound in Fairest Isle. Purcell’s Fantazia provided their pièce-de-résistance, the three upper strings making a dazzling sound against the rock solid ground bass on the three continuo instruments. Presided over by the watchful genius of Richard Egarr on harpsichord, Davies could have wanted no finer partners.

The man himself made a predictably beautiful sound: his countertenor is probably the most in-demand in the world at the minute. He was poignant and melancholy in famous Purcell numbers like O Solitude or the famous Evening Hymn, but he wasn’t above having some fun with the song of the Cold Genius in King Arthur, displaying phenomenal technique and breath control in the process. My only regret is that he didn’t programme more things that showed off the phenomenal gleam to his upper register, surely his finest asset, which didn’t get much of an airing. Still, with such flawless intonation and beautiful tone, there was no reason to complain.

The concert was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3 and is available to listen again here.

Simon Thompson

The 2015 Edinburgh International Festival runs until Monday 31st August at venues across the city. For full details go to www.eif.co.uk

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra at St John’s Smith Square’s 2017 Christmas Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Spitalfields Music Festival 2017 in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • NEW! iSING! – International Young Artists Festival in Suzhou, China __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H