Handel performed by the Dunedin Consort

Dunedin Consort at the Barber Institute, University of Birmingham *****
A buzzing audience of students and many mature 'regulars' greeted the Scottish Dunedin Consort for an all-Handel evening. Initially a daunting prospect, but we soon became entranced by the variety on offer from this charismatic composer and truly skilled musicians.
Conducted from the harpsichord by John Butt, beginning with the all familiar Water Music intended to cause a sensation. Indeed, performed initially three times in the open City Company barge in spite, no doubt of damp and penetrating river odours. Lovely neat playing from all with a distinct impression of enjoyment throughout. How refreshing!
Soprano solo Rowan Pierce, has a most impressive roll call of appearances with a wide variety of accompanying orchestras in many interesting venues. Her pure voice and pleasant, communicating demeanour were joyful. Florid coloratura was smilingly effortless, interwoven with sparkle throughout.
Matthew Brook – bass, joined in the second half. A total delight! No scores to get in the way, just seemingly effortless minimal acting, amusing and a definite WOW factor. Both soloists played the lovers Apollo and Dafne (by 22-yearold Handel) with wonderful support from numerous instrumental soloists. True baroque inclusions from single horns, wooden flutes, oboes , a lengthy violin solo, all supported by discreet harpsichord and sensitive colleagues.
We valiantly followed the translation being charmed by an evening of commitment and true musicality.
Maggie Cotton

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