REVIEW: The Consort of 12, Holy Trinity church, Bosham

The Consort of 12 gave its latest period performance to a large audience at Holy Trinity church, Bosham on Sunday 17th July. Entitled “Echoes of Italy –Rome and Venice” the concert programme explored the Concerto Grosso and Solo Concerto forms. An interesting pre-concert talk given by Prof. Roger Parker described the origins of the concerto, its importance and its historical context.

The first half of the concert transported the audience to Venice, so who better than the Red Priest himself, Vivaldi to open the proceedings with a Concerto in D major RV 564a for two solo violins, 2 oboes, bassoon and strings. Guest leader, Catherine Martin immediately conveyed her intensions with clarity and poise. Giuseppe Torelli’s atmospheric Concerto in G minor Op.8 No.6 showed the audience an earlier but highly effective style of string writing. This was followed by Tomaso Albinoni’s Concerto with Oboes in G major Op.9 No.6 deftly and sensitively played by oboe soloists Gerry McDonald and Debby England. The first half ended with Vivaldi’s Concerto for Violin in A minor Op.3 No.6 again showing Catherine Martin’s formidable technique and musicianship.

The second half of the concert comprised of Italian composers who lived and worked in London. Francesco Geminiani’s Concerto in D minor after Corelli’s sonata Op5. No.7 contrasted extended violin solos from the leader, accompanied by Ian Graham-Jones on harpsichord and Lynden Cranham on ‘cello with full strings and worked very well. Next was the charming Concerto for recorder in F major by the Milanese oboist, Giuseppe Sammartini. Helen Hooker’s recorder playing was delightful; neatly executed and beautifully phrased. The well known Concerto Grosso in A Major Op.6 No.11 by Handel (an “honorary Italian”) brought a very enjoyable concert to a fitting end.

Sophie Middleditch