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HomeOperafinale live performance of Hatfield Home Chamber Music Pageant

finale live performance of Hatfield Home Chamber Music Pageant

The Old Palace, Hatfield House
The Outdated Palace, Hatfield Home

Finale Live performance:
Boccherini, Piazzolla, JP Jofre, Joseph Phibbs, Shruthi Rajasekar, Morten Lauridsen; Cantate Youth Choir, Herefordshire County Youth Choir, ORA Singers, Suzi Digby, Pageant resident musicians; Hatfield Home Chamber Music Pageant on the Outdated Palace
Reviewed 2 October 2022 (★★★★)

A various finish to the competition, together with two world premieres, folk-inspired music from the Nordic international locations, Romania, Argentina and Spain, plus cross pollination between Carnatic and Western classical musics

The Hatfield Home Chamber Music Pageant completed on Sunday 2 October 2022 with a last live performance within the Outdated Palace celebrating the competition’s theme of A World of Music, involving the competition’s resident musicians and company together with JP Jofre (bandoneon), Adam Walker (flute), Morgan Szymanski (guitar), Nirmala Rajasekar (veena), the Lodestar Trio, the United Strings of Europe, Ensemble Renard, ORA Singers, Suzi Digby (conductor), Herefordshire County Youth Choir, and Cantate Youth Choir, performing music by Boccherini, Piazzolla, JP Jofre, Stanford, Joseph Phibbs, Shruthi Rajasekar and Morten Lauridsen.

We started with United Strings of Europe (chief Julian Azkoul) in Boccherini’s Musica noturna delle strade di Madrid, his quintet evoking the sights and sounds of night-time Madrid. A piece that he refused to publish throughout his lifetime as he mentioned that it could not make sense to anybody unfamiliar with Madrid’s evening life. It’s an idiomatic and vibrant piece, with bells, blind musicians, troopers’ drums and much more. The ensemble performed it with magnificence and verve, in addition to with a pleasant diploma of artistic freedom, they usually have been clearly having an fulfilling time, and so have been we.

From Madrid at evening, we travelled to the cafes of Argentina.

Adam Walker and Morgan Szymanski gave us actions of Piazzolla’s 1985 work, L’Histoire du Tango. We heard the center two actions. First ‘Cafe 1930’ the place the music moved from elegant melancholy to extra rhythmic, virtuoso moments. Then ‘Night time Membership 1960’ the place the tempo was quicker, the music edgier. In each circumstances, the shape felt very free and there the place rhapsodic actions and a few pretty textures for flute and guitar, in addition to loads of discreetly virtuosic plying from Walker and Szymanski.

Modern-day Argentinian composer and bandoneon participant JP Jofre additionally channelled one thing of the tango in his String Quartet and Bandoneon No. 3, a single motion work that Jofre performed with a quintet made up of Max Baillie and Julian Azkoul, violins, and gamers from United Strings of Europe. The work started in a darkish, intense and extremely rhythmic style, the music having hints of extra fashionable components alongside the spiky harmonies. This materials was punctuated by slower, extra lyrical sections by the opening materials stored returning and we had driving rhythms to the very finish.

The primary half ended with a collaboration that had been put collectively specifically for the competition, the Lodestar Trio (Max Baillie, violin, Olav Mjelva, folks violin, Erik Rydvall, nyckelharpa) joined forces with the United Strings of Europe for a medley that took within the music of Bach, Bartok and Grieg alongside Nordic folks songs. On the centre was a bunch of Bartok’s Romanian Dances, intriguingly reworked with folks violin and nyckelharpa as their focus, however the music moved freely between kinds and genres, but at all times remained participating and engaging. The sound of the unison strings becoming a member of the Lodestar Trio in a few of the Nordic folks materials conjured, for me, the sound of Scots fiddle ensembles!

The second half opened with the 2 youth choirs, Cantate Youth Choir and Herefordshire County Youth Choir, performed by James Slimings, in a full of life account of Stanford’s double-choir Latin motet Coelos Ascendit Hodie.

The remainder of the live performance took as its theme the thought of sunshine, with a collection of choral works together with two new commissions and ending with Morten Lauridsen’s Lux aeterna. We started with the premiere of Joseph Phibbs’ Let there be mild for cello and choir, carried out by ORA Singers, conductor Suzi Digby, with cellist Man Johnston (creative director of the competition). Phibbs assembled a textual content from Biblical sources and the seventeenth century metaphysical poet, Henry Vaughan, mixing English with Latin, Greek and Hebrew. The work opened with a rhapsodic cello half and for the lengthy first part, this alternated with a powerful solo tenor cantor and responses from totally different sections of the choir in Hebrew, Greek and Latin, with the choral response various from excessive and aetherial to low, darkish and intense. A quicker center part, the place cello pizzicato accompanied the choir led to a climax and a return to the rhapsodic cello solo. Lastly, the setting of Vaughan’s textual content, once more with choir and pizzicato cello, however this subsided and the work ended with additional cello rhapsodising over held choir notes.

Then got here one other new work, this time for choir and veena, a lute-like Indian instrument. Gentle Everlasting by American-Indian composer Shruthi Rajasekar mixed South Indian classical (Carnatic) and Western classical influences, with Suzi Digby and ORA Singers being joined by veena participant Nirmala Rajasekar (Shruthi Rajasekar’s mom) and an uncredited percussion participant. The textual content combines phrases from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (a seventh to sixth century BCE Sanskrit textual content that is among the first Upanishadic scriptures of Hinduism) with phrases from Psalm 119 and Erasmus.

Combining the 2 sorts of music (Carnatic and Western) is hard, owing to the variations in tuning and far of the primary half of the work was a kind of name and response, based mostly on a collection of drones, with the choral contribution being responded to by virtuosic flights from Nirmala Rajasekar on veena. Step by step the music turned stronger and extra rhythmically intense, and on the finish the 2 worlds mixed in an evocation of the Thanam, the percussive type of Carnatic music, creating one thing hypnotic. The music for the choir stored to comparatively easy harmonic varieties and the spice of the piece was very a lot within the writing for veena, the place Nirmala Rajasekar was enjoying from reminiscence and creating some astonishing improvisations. All through the percussion participant supported Nirmala Rajasekar and on the finish fairly got here into his personal with the extremely rhythmic sections.

Sunday 2 October 2022 was Gandhi Day (Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, he was born on 2 October 1869) and in recognition, Shruthi Rajasekar had organized the devotional music Raghupathi Raghava Raja Ram for Nirmala Rajasekar (voice and veena) and the United Strings of Europe. Rhapsodic at first, it moved right into a extremely rhythmic and dramatic type shifting in direction of the climax.

The ultimate work within the programme was Morten Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna, a five-movement work for choir and orchestra which the composer wrote in 1997. It makes use of Latin texts assembled by the composer however stays a secular piece, exploring the varied components of sacred mild. The work was carried out by Herefordshire County Youth Choir, Cantate Youth Choir, ORA Singers, United Strings of Europe and Ensemble Renard, performed by Suzi Digby. 

For a lot of the opening motion, Introitus, Lauridsen alternated the choir, singing in a mode acquainted from the composer’s well-known unaccompanied choral items, with a heat, cellular orchestral texture, solely bringing them collectively at in direction of the tip. All through the piece, Lauridsen used his two teams independently, generally collectively and generally separate, fairly than the orchestra merely accompanying choir. The second motion, In te, Domine speravi was darker and extra intense with freer writing for the choir, while the fairly touching O nata lux used loads of unaccompanied choir in Lauridsen’s extra acquainted type. The massive-scale Veni, sancte spiritus was a exceptional dance-based motion rising from a choral unison. We ended with Agnus Dei – Lux Aeterna, which moved from unaccompanied choir to a extra romantic tutti which developed fairly a head of steam.

Lauridsen’s piece is kind of a big scale one, lasting round half-hour. Coming on the finish of an extended and various programme (the entire live performance lasted round 150 minutes) was maybe not superb positioning and it might need been fairer to have a shorter programme with the Lauridsen extra as the main focus. At instances the work appeared to be barely to prolonged for its materials, however Digby and her performers undoubtedly gave it a finely crafted efficiency and it was pretty to see the younger singers from the youth choirs performing enthusiastically alongside the adults in ORA Singers.

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