RBA Bach

Not a relation of JS, CPE or PDQ but the venue for today’s lunchtime presentation of two JS Bach cantatas by mezzo Lauren Eberwein and organist Hyejin Kwon with violinists Liz Johnston and Rezan Onen-Lapointe, violist Keith Hamm, cellist Paul Widner, bassist Robert Speer and oboeist Mark Rogers.  The two pieces were Ich habe genug, BWV 82 and Vergnügte Ruh, beliebte Seelenlust BWV 170; both works about the approach of death and the soul’s yearning for rest and salvation.

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Across the Channel

Having been tipped off that yesterday’s RBA noon concert was to be a vocal recital rather than, as previously billed, a chamber concert I made the trip through the snow to catch it.  Three of the Royal Conservatory’s Rebanks fellows were singing with Helen Becqué at the piano and assorted staff and alumni added for the final number.  Attendance was a bit sparse perhaps unsurprisingly given the weather and the evident confusion.  That was a shame because it was an interesting, varied and well presented concert combining well known works with some much less well known fare.

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War and Peace

sasha-djihanianLunchtime 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.

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From dark to light

dover-beach-1upphl0Today’s recital in the RBA was given by Russell Braun. Carolyn Maule and members of the COC orchestra.  The programme, Journeys of the Soul, divided into two quite distinct halves.  In the first, Russell was joined by Marie Bedard and Dominique Laplants (violins), Keith Hamm (viola) and Paul Widner (cello) in a performance of Samuel Barber’s Dover Beach; a setting of a text by Matthew Arnold.  It’s a very dark text and rather an extraordinary choice for a twenty year old.  The music is equally dark and brooding.  It’s a great work for Russell though and plays well to the colours of his voice and his keen attention to text.  It was a pleasure to hear in the very intimate atmosphere of the RBA.

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Of love and longing

allysonMcHardy200x250Allyson McHardy’s lunchtime recital in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre today was unusual and effective; combining contrasting works by Brahms, Robert Fleming and Britten.  Accompanied by Liz Upchurch on piano throughout, she was joined for the first set; Brahms’ Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano, Op. 91 by the COC’s principal violist, Keith Hamm.  They were rather beautifully sung and played and were true to music and text; both of which are a bit too German Romantic for my taste. Continue reading