FESTIVITIES REVIEW: The Berkeley Concert

The Berkeley Concert (Lynden Cranham (cello), Sophie Middleditch (recorder) and David Pollock (harpsichord) gave a brilliant recital of Italian music at the time of Vivaldi as the third of the Lewis Brownlee lunchtime concert series in the Festivities last Monday. This ensemble has become a regular contributor the Festivities and their performances in the excellent acoustic of St John’s Chapel are always a delight.

The programme featured music by three priests – Francesco Barsanti, Pietro Boni and the “red priest” Antonio Vivaldi, though the connection, I suspect was coincidental. Barsanti’s sonata, together with a transcription of Corelli’s exciting violin sonata ‘La Folia’ was ably and fluently executed by Sophie Middleditch. David Pollock was equally fluent in a scintillating keyboard sonata of Domenico Scarlatti, played on his Italian-style harpsichord, while Lynden Cranham departed from her role of cello continuo to play two solo sonatas, by Vivaldi and Boni. Her expressive playing came to the fore in the Vivaldi ‘Largo’ movements, while the more unusual Boni sonata gave the audience some surprises in its varied textures and exciting chord playing.

Ian Graham-Jones