Devon Baroque has always come up with interesting and varied programmes, usually with a well-defined theme.
When they decided on Musiciens sans Frontières for their latest concert title, they could hardly have known just how sensitive the subject would become again, given that in Baroque times there was a relaxed attitude to border crossing, and musicians were always freely able to travel to seek work.
This time in all-string rig-up, the orchestra got off to a superb start with Handel’s Concerto Grosso in F, and which, in fact, set the scene for a scintillating performance of varied music by Corelli, Lully, Muffat, Avison, and Geminiani.
Under joint direction from violinist Persephone Gibbs, and Andrew Wilson-Dickson (harpsichord), Devon Baroque took the packed audience on a European tour, encountering many different styles along the route, not just with the playing alone, but also some fascinating anecdotal commentary from Persephone, to precede each item.
Since its formation, Devon Baroque, over the years, really come of age now, and arrived at a wonderful musical and artistic synthesis between its joint directors, and its willing, talented and eminently responsive players.
Not only a leading ensemble to listen to, they’re also great to watch, when players freely interact with each other in an ambiance that simply exudes real enjoyment in the art of collective music-making – and surely what it’s really all about.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
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