Baroque Tarantella; Melbourne Recital Centre; September 12 and 13
Clive O’Connell THE AGE 17 September 2010
THE Australian Brandenburg Orchestra turned to collaboration for its latest concerts, inviting the innovative period music ensemble L’Arpeggiata to join in a mixed program that gave space for all to shine.
From the ABO, a string octet with underpinning from Paul Dyer on harpsichord, Jonathan Bradley vaulting between organ and another harpsichord, percussionist Jess Ciampa and the resonant long-necked lute/theorbo of Tommie Andersson was led by L’Arpeggiata’s founder Christina Pluhar, also playing theorbo.
They supported three soloists – clarinettist Gianluigi Trovesi, dancer Anna Dego, singer Lucilla Galeazzi – with Margit Ubellacker contributing her psaltery expertise.
The entertainment began in orthodox Renaissance form with a stately intrata by Buonamente. It diverted into original songs from Galeazzi, revealing a folk-tune- indebted lyricism. Her vocal colour has an individuality that brings to mind popular European chanteuses – refreshingly human and miles away from the vibrato-less, sexless timbre embraced by too many baroque vocalists.
Dego’s dancing owed much to flamenco-type gestures and a free-flowing ardour. Ubellacker’s psaltery work was precise and occasionally virtuosic, her mallets generating an appropriate outspoken harpsichord flavour.
Trovesi’s jazz-inflected clarinets made an instant impact. He bent thirds and sixths notes with gusto, yet somehow contrived to slot into the context without overstaying his welcome.
The whole exercise showed how gifted musicians can work harmoniously if they have technical and intellectual insights.
While the almost 30 offerings heavily emphasised the chaconne form – a fixed bass line repeated as needed – the gift from this fusion of musicians was one of grace, enthusiasm and interpretative freedom operating under time-honoured formal constraints.