Devon Baroque at the Great Hall Dartington 11/10/15

Adrenaline rush as Devon Baroque come of age with the musical equivalent of a legal high (review)

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You always get an adrenaline rush when you’ve enjoyed a really good concert, either as performer or audience member.

But when that concert isn’t just good, but it’s arguably the best you’ve ever heard that ensemble perform, then that must surely be right up there with the musical equivalent of a legal high.

That’s certainly not to imply that Devon Baroque’s performances to date have been anything but first-rate, but today they really came of age. It wasn’t simply a question of the playing, which was always breath-taking enough. It wasn’t just the highly effective programming that offered such a diverse array of fascinating repertoire, from Handel, Telemann and Vivaldi, to Rameau and Rebel. It wasn’t even the clearly-evident sense of rapport and pure enjoyment, the occasional tuning interlude that almost turned into improvised humour – or even the superb acoustic of their spiritual home in the Great Hall.

It was, in fact, the sum of all these parts, and for this there can ultimately be only one person responsible, artistic director and violinist Persephone Gibbs, who led with such aplomb and artistic meticulousness. With harpsichordist Andrew Wilson-Dixon, this then became a musical marriage made in heaven, to which every other player was invited, and who then made such a telling contribution, individually or to the ensemble as a whole.



Philip Buttall

Philip Buttall

Philip R Buttall was the Classical Music Writer at Plymouth Herald from 1997-2017. He is a sought-after piano teacher, composer and arranger, and online concert and CD reviewer. Further information and contact details are available at
Philip Buttall