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, PDF & Email

Comments

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Some Forthcoming London Events from Temple Music __________________________________
  • NEW! Royal Opera House Cinema Festival Begins Monday 3 December in State-of-the-Art Linbury Theatre __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet at the London Coliseum 13 December 2018 – 20 January 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Looking Ahead to the 2019 Lucerne Festivals __________________________________
  • NEW! Sándor Végh Memorial Concerts 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Perform Amahl and the Night Visitors in December __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 and Beyond __________________________________
  • NEW! Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
 in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Edinburgh Sunday International Concerts Series in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 UK Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR ELIM CHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Iain Farrington’s Mahler Piano Series was an Extraordinary Marathon __________________________________
  • NEW! Vancouver New Music’s Quartetti Festival: Recharging the Contemporary String Quartet __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST ANGELA HEWITT IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • R.I.P. Montserrat Caballé (1933 – 2018): A Personal Tribute by Jack Buckley __________________________________
  • NEW! The Future of Opera is Theatre: An Essay by Casey Creel __________________________________
  • NEW! Jacqui and David Morris’s New Documentary Film Nureyev Celebrates a Unique Man and Dancer __________________________________
  • NEW! MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE GESUALDO SIX IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • NEW! TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • NEW! THE PIANIST GEORGE HARLIONO IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month