Reviews 2010-2011

Reviews 2010-2011: (UK) The English Concert: "Critical acclaim at the Wigmore"

Contributed by Admin on Oct 02, 2011

We opened our 2011-12 season this week with Artistic Director Harry Bicket at Wigmore Hall with two performances of a programme featuring music by Alessandro Scarlatti, Handel, Vivaldi and Venturini. Scarlatti and Handel were sung by renowned tenor Ian Bostridge, while Mr Venturini, despite his name, turned out to have come from the Low Countries, only adding to the interest surrounding his unfamiliar Sonata in G minor, a piece that particularly attracted the attention of Geoff Brown in The Times

"Throughout the night, one joy was constant: the ensemble spirit and iridescent colours of The English Concert, directed by Harry Bicket.  They had the best repertoire too.  I didn't leave humming Handel:
I left with the dance memory of Francesco Venturini's op.1 no.9, an instrumental suite of fresh invention and striking instrumental colours... and no ancient programme could be complete without its Vivaldi concerto...RV 454 in D minor, an eloquent showcase for Katharina Spreckelsen's oboe." 

A view endorsed by George Hall at The Guardian - 

"The period instruments were those of The English Concert, on impeccable form under their artistic director, Harry Bicket ... Oboe player Katharina Spreckelsen brought a potent, tangy tone to bear on Vivaldi's characterful D minor Concerto, and a sonata (actually more like a concerto or suite...) by Venturini proved a worthwhile discovery."

The young Handel in Italy brought the programme to its brilliant vocal conclusion, with Ian Bostridge singing the motet 'Silete Venti', about which Andrew Clark of The Financial Times had this to say 

"Handel's 'Silete Venti', extolling the "radiant airs of heaven", made a ravishing sequel [to the Scarlatti cantata 'Dall'oscura magion'] climaxing in a lively Alleluia: not Handel at his most profound ... but nonetheless exuding a vitality that Bostridge relished."

Monday's concert was broadcast live by BBC Radio 3 and can still be heard on iplayer over the weekend ahead.  To listen 
click here

We are especially grateful to Haven Health Properties Limited for generously sponsoring these performances.