Lunchtime today at the RBA saw members of the COC orchestra get together with soprano Sasha Djihanian for a concert of works by Handel and Albinoni. I realised that I really don’t listen to enough baroque chamber works. The first work on the program was Handel’s Trio Sonata No.2 in D Minor. It’s compact, playful and doesn’t overstay its welcome. I stupidly didn’t make a note of who played on what piece so I’ll just credit the ensemble at the end of the post. The other chamber work on the program was Albinoni’s Sonata à cinque in C major. This was fun too with lots of fugue elements and dance rhythms and some serious toe tapping by violist Keith Hamm.
The rest of the program consisted of three arias from Handel operas. The first from Teseo split the two chamber pieces. Morirò, ma vendicata has Medea swearing bloody revenge on her rival accompanied by doom laden chords from the strings. It’s quite exciting with lots of rather programmatic evil sorceress music. Sasha sang with excellent feel for the line and was quite convincing as the world’s most diminutive evil sorceress. The concert wrapped up with two favourites from Giulio Cesare; Piangerò la sorte mia and Da tempeste il legno infranto. Both of these are of course very beauftful and Sasha sang them with considerable grace. I love the way the dark tones of her lower register sound in this music and the quite agressive quality of her top notes brings out a pleasing contrast.
For the record, the instrumental parts were skilfully supplied by Mark Rogers; oboe, Liz Johnston and Paul Zevenhuizen; violins, Keith Hamm and Brandon Chui; violas, Alastair Eng; cello and Paul Jenkins; harpsichord.