<< -- 3 -- John Bell Young WORLD CLASS
Judging from the penetrating performances of Elizabeth Blumenstock, Kinoch
Earle and Peggy Spencer, I would be hard pressed to recall anyone playing
the violin with such verve, gusto and finesse since Alice Harnoncourt gave
voice to the Brandenburg Concertos. Elsewhere, Richard Earle's (Kinoch's
brother) oboe playing is at once elegant and haunting; witness his taut
but deftly nuanced performance in Handel's Il delirio amoroso.
Emily van Evera delivers savvy, if somewhat breathy readings of Purcell's
Sweeter than Roses, a composer who seems to suit her perfectly.
But in the Italianate solos of the Handel, where her musicianship
is likewise exemplary and well informed, her light, airy soprano favors
restraint over the affective vigor so boldly conveyed by the rest of the
ensemble. She misses opportunities to color the text, eviscerating the crisp,
plosive consonants and long fruity vowels of the kind of seductive, excess
and affective precision that would conform to the interpretive agenda of
the period. Her approach tends to compromise the music's rich textures
and internecine dramas. Even so, beyond the quality of her voice, which
in the end is a matter of taste, I would prefer the more opulent, intense
and intonationally varied vocalism of early music singers such as Guillemette
Laurens or Agnes Mellon.
In Vivaldi's concerto for sopranino recorder Sarah Cantor certainly
has her work cut out for her. Though the recorder went out of fashion as
early as the mid seventeenth century, even Bach took occasional advantage
of it in several of his cantatas. Unlike Vivaldi's Four Seasons
and his violin concertos, this work is a more placid affair, abandoning
the intense repetitive effects of the stile concitato that so excited
seventeenth century listeners. Ms Cantor brings to the work a kind of heightened
sensibility and energy that forsakes nothing of its lyrical demeanor.
Copyright © 4 December 2002
John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA