The very best baroque chamber music can transport listeners to many places. The Early Music Ensemble of St George’s College concert in the Chapel on Sunday 12th February underlined this emphatically. It seemed a surprise, at Concert end, to be re-emerging into the afternoon light and unseasonable humidity of the Quadrangle rather than, perhaps, a cold rain-reflecting Wigmore Street on a February night. For others, as they listened with closed eyes in the Chapel, they were, maybe, in a Paris salon or in the company of great Enlightenment figures; testament to the very skilled playing of the Ensemble, which is attracting a dedicated and discerning following.
The Ensemble started with one of their signature pieces, 17th century violinist composer Uccellini’s Aria sopra La Bergamasca, playing assuredly and with evident pleasure. Eliza McCracken, combining with cellist Krista Low and harpsichordist Kiseok Kim, continued with the Psyche violin sonata by Mascitti, a prominent and long-lived (1664-1760) contemporary of Albinoni and Corelli, who travelled extensively throughout Italy, Germany and France.
Guest lutenists, Aidan Deasy and Casey Fitzpatrick, provided a humorous and instructive introduction to the renaissance lute before beguiling the audience with a 1602 fantasy from a lute primer, a solo Elizabethan piece – Home again, market is done, and Fugue in F by German Justinus a Desponsatione.
Kiseok Kim then played eight Couperin preludes upon the Gillian Belbin harpsichord. Violinist Sarah Papadopoulos led two movements of Francoeur’s Sonata IV, and finally the Ensemble rounded off the concert with a serene Handel Passacaglia.
Written by Ian Hardy