"The beast is the baroque bassoon." Our Co-Principal Bassoon, Peter Whelan, gives you the lowdown on his instrument youtu.be/ls-bij2qMT4
On 12 June we filled the airwaves with our live concert of Gamechangers: Mildly Rude? featuring music from William Boyce and Handel at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Whether you were there or listening at home, many of you shared your thoughts via the magic of the interweb. Here we share some of your comments. But first, a word from the critics.
Geoff Brown at The Artsdesk said “Boyce’s opening sinfonia initially sounded strait-jacketed and plain. But as the pastoral dialogue wended its way – Solomon himself was soon forgotten, and the Queen of Sheba never showed up – the music soon picked up energy. Sweet melodies, tripping rhythms, bustling fugal choruses, and instrumental details tickled the ear. Matthew Truscott’s violin injected neat trills; Andrew Watt’s bassoon gently burbled; Lisa Besnosiuk’s flute sang like a bird. And, directed by Steven Devine from his gorgeous green harpsichord, the corporate élan of the OAE and the Choir of the Enlightenment never faded.”
Hilary Finch from The Times said Boyce was ‘bracing and bouyant throughout’. But this is a long hour and a half of recitative and aria, setting some of the most exruciatingly high-flown and over-blown poeticising of one Edward Moore. Try this for size: “Her teeth like flocks in beauty seem New shorn and dropping from the stream”.
Curtis Rogers Classical Source thought that Mary Bevan did a great job “…particularly commendable given the short time she had had to learn it. Understanding that this is not an opera or oratorio, she sang with brightness and tenderness, without artificial or exaggerated musical gestures. The Choir showed similar control in its handful of numbers, bringing out the erotic undercurrents of this work, but in a quietly artful way, rather than with rampant or indecent abandon. Both as conductor and harpsichordist, Devine presided over a balanced and coherent account of this delightful celebration of love.”