Unfortunately, I was unable to get along to Devon Baroque’s (DB) previous concert when they concluded the outstanding project to incorporate each of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in a separate programme over a couple of years or so.
A new adventure
That’s now been done and dusted, and since co-directors Persephone Gibbs and Andrew Wilson-Dickson are not known for letting the grass grow under their feet, they are now embarked on a new adventure, where the plan is to play all eighteen Handel Concerti Grossi in parallel with a series of themed concerts, for example, featuring music by friends of Thomas Gainsborough, and music linked with astronomy.
To mark the first concert in the new Handel series, which focussed on his Concerto Grosso in B flat, Op 3 No 2, Persephone and Andrew came up with a fascinating medical themed programme.
Fascinating and scary
If you’ve never heard French composer Jean-Féry Rebel’s representation of Chaos, which opened the concert, then try to access a sound snippet. When you consider he died in 1747, the music is both fascinating – and pretty scary, too.
DB returns to Dartington next February, and this will be a very special event to celebrate the ensemble’s 20th Birthday – details will follow.
Finally, and on a much sadder note, the present concert was dedicated to Jasper Solomon, who was central to the ensemble’s organisation since its inception. Jasper’s untimely death in the summer has not only created a huge gap for Devon Baroque, but also for Totnes Early Music Society, and, in fact, the promotion of Early Music across the South West. But, as Andrew Wilson-Dickson concluded, everyone present at the concert – performers and listeners alike – would be happy in the fact that Jasper would have surely loved this ‘quirky and typically Devon Baroque offering’.
You can read my full review here at Seen and Heard International
Philip R Buttall