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The Barbican weekend of vocal and instrumental harmony Cecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta with Capella Gabetta (1st December 2017) and  King’s College Choir with Britten Sinfonia (2nd December 2017)

December 4, 2017

 

 

This weekend gave a wonderful chance to London audiences to witness how voice and chamber orchestra could give us a really delicate delight of enjoying the music which one would not call as widely known. On Friday the world-renowned mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli presented her new album recorded with the cellist Sol Gabetta and the chamber ensemble Capella Gabetta led by Sol’s brother Andrés Gabetta. Two musicians want to revive the long-existing but forgotten tradition of a musical duel – for instance, in the 18th century the castrato Farinelli famously competed with a trumpet player, while Mozart had a musical battle with Muzio Clementi. In a modern age of rap battles, the musical duels in the sphere of classical music seem the more intriguing. And indeed, what instrument could better compete with a beautifully rich voice of Bartoli than a cello! Two women have called their album ‘Dolce Duello’ (a sweet duel) and have combined the arias from the Baroque period which are so beloved by Bartoli with a cello concert №10 by Boccherini performed by Gabetta.

Bartoli and Gabetta actually never veered into a duel, and were always acting as one body of performers even when on the surface Bartoli was a soloist. When singing the arias of Caldara, Albinoni, Gabrielli and Pollarolo, Raupach and more widely known ‘Lascia la spina’ by Handel, Cecilia Bartoli was always accompanied by a voice of cello, and the musicians sounded indeed a proper duet rather than a voice accompanied by instrumental score. Capella Gabetta with its emotional concertmeister Andrés Gabetta was also part of this beautiful intimate concert, and the sounds of harpsichord from Dirk Börner and a guitar (changed for what looked like a mandoline) from Eduardo Egüez added to the feeling that we were attending a chamber recital in some royal or ducal palace. Bartoli and Gabetta acted like two sisters, and smiled at the audiences frequently to make everyone feel at home. In the Barbican hall which was overflowing with people some phrases of praise in Italian addressed specifically at Bartoli were heard, and she responded with a smile and some friendly comment, as well. Both musicians obviously were enjoying themselves in the face of such a welcoming audience and performed four additional encores where Bartoli suddenly transformed into a beautiful and wild Spaniard and was dancing and tapping along to her singing of Rossini’s Tarantella and José de Nebra Seguedillas y Fandango. There was only one disadvantage of such a friendly evening of music making. It could be said that Bartoli, while being delightfully nuanced and tender in her singing, did not always project her voice enough to the hall, and I wonder how people in the Gallery coped while there was some problem with sound delivery even in the stalls. I am sure that listeners could be compensated for this by the incredible delicacy and emotional charge of her performance. It felt like Bartoli had an invisible connection with the music of the 18th century and was tapping on it effortlessly during the night.

The next evening of the weekend was completely different but gave audiences a chance to experience the power of vocal and instrumental harmony. Now it were the performers from Cambridge that united to give us the chance to hear some choral works . The chamber ensemble Britten Sinfonia which celebrates its 25th year in 2017 united its forces with the boys from King’s College Choir led by Stephen Cleobury who has been the Director of Music of this famous choir for 35 years now. The evening was, similarly, to the previous one, a venture into the relatively unknown, as the Barbican was filled with the the music of Bernstein and Williams.The evening started with a world premiere of a commissioned work from Emma-Ruth Richards called Sciamachy (a was with shadows in Greek) and started the theme of the war or remembrance of war and struggle for peace which was chosen as the leading one for the evening. After a piece by a young composer showing the constant struggle of light to overtake the shadows and performed by Britten Sinfonia, Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein and a cantata ‘Dona nobis pacem’ by Vaughan Williams were performed. For the latter piece sung after the interval the boys of the King’s College Choir were joined by the vocalists Ailish Tynan and Neal Davies. The boys themselves – both the younger choristers and the older choral scholars – always appeared on stage very solemnely, as one procession, and kept this seriousness through the whole concert. This was, one could say, a positive contrast to Bartoli and Gabetta’s lightness of touch which made the listener think they were playing a game rather than giving a concert. The choir sang the Hebrew text of Bernstein’s piece and verses of Walt Whitman of Williams’ cantata with dedication and power required from this music celebrating the strength of humanity in the times of distress. It was indeed wonderful to see the boys faces illuminated by such serious emotions, and suddenly one felt overwhelmed with the feeling of unity with one’s fellow inhabitants of this world. Thus, this second evening continued to bring alive the beauty of vocal and instrumental harmony, but in a completely different, serious and unlifting, rather than joyful, tender and cheerful way which was characteristic of Bartoli and Gabetta. While they were entirely different in programme, tone and intention, they were surely complementing each other. The Barbican weekend of vocal and instrumental harmonyCecilia Bartoli and Sol Gabetta with Capella Gabetta (1st December 2017) and King’s College Choir with Britten Sinfonia (2nd December 2017) This weekend gave a wonderful chance to London audiences to witness how voice and chamber orchestra could give us a really delicate delight of enjoying the music which one would not call as widely known. On Friday the world-renowned mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli presented her new album recorded with the cellist Sol Gabetta and the chamber ensemble Capella Gabetta led by Sol’s brother Andrés Gabetta. Two musicians want to revive the long-existing but forgotten tradition of a musical duel – for instance, in the 18th century the castrato Farinelli famously competed with a trumpet player, while Mozart had a musical battle with Muzio Clementi. In a modern age of rap battles, the musical duels in the sphere of classical music seem the more intriguing. And indeed, what instrument could better compete with a beatifully rich voice of Bartoli than a cello! Two women have called their album ‘Dolce Duello’ (a sweet duel) and have combined the arias from the Baroque period which are so beloved by Bartoli with a cello concert №10 by Boccherini performed by Gabetta. Bartoli and Gabetta actually never veered into a duel, and were always acting as one body of performers even when on the surface Bartoli was a soloist. When singing the arias of Caldara, Albinoni, Gabrielli and Pollarolo, Raupach and more widely known ‘Lascia la spina’ by Handel, Cecilia Bartoli was always accompanied by a voice of cello, and the musicians sounded indeed a proper duet rather than a voice accompanied by instrumental score. Capella Gabetta with its emotional concertmeister Andrés Gabetta was also part of this beautiful intimate concert, and the sounds of harpsichord from Dirk Börner and a guitar (changed for what looked like a mandoline) from Eduardo Egüez added to the feeling that we were attending a chamber recital in some royal or ducal palace. Bartoli and Gabetta acted like two sisters, and smiled at the audiences frequently to make everyone feel at home. In the Barbican hall which was overflowing with people some phrases of praise in Italian addressed specifically at Bartoli were heard, and she responded with a smile and some friendly comment, as well. Both musicians obviously were enjoying themselves in the face of such a welcoming audience and performed four additional encores where Bartoli suddenly transformed into a beautiful and wild Spaniard and was dancing and tapping along to her singing of Rossini’s Tarantella and José de Nebra Seguedillas y Fandango. There was only one disadvantage of such a friendly evening of music making. It could be said that Bartoli, while being delightfully nuanced and tender in her singing, did not always project her voice enough to the hall, and I wonder how people in the Gallery coped while there was some problem with sound delivery even in the stalls. I am sure that listeners could be compensated for this by the incredible delicacy and emotional charge of her performance. It felt like Bartoli had an invisible connection with the music of the 18th century and was tapping on it effortlessly during the night.The next evening of the weekend was completely different but gave audiences a chance to experience the power of vocal and instrumental harmony. Now it were the performers from Cambridge that united to give us the chance to hear some choral works . The chamber ensemble Britten Sinfonia which celebrates its 25th year in 2017 united its forces with the boys from King’s College Choir led by Stephen Cleobury who has been the Director of Music of this famous choir for 35 years now. The evening was, similarly, to the previous one, a venture into the relatively unknown, as the Barbican was filled with the the music of Bernstein and Williams.The evening started with a world premiere of a commissioned work from Emma-Ruth Richards called Sciamachy (a was with shadows in Greek) and started the theme of the war or remembrance of war and struggle for peace which was chosen as the leading one for the evening. After a piece by a young composer showing the constant struggle of light to overtake the shadows and performed by Britten Sinfonia, Chichester Psalms by Leonard Bernstein and a cantata ‘Dona nobis pacem’ by Vaughan Williams were performed. For the latter piece sung after the interval the boys of the King’s College Choir were joined by the vocalists Ailish Tynan and Neal Davies. The boys themselves – both the younger choristers and the older choral scholars – always appeared on stage very solemnely, as one procession, and kept this seriousness through the whole concert. This was, one could say, a positive contrast to Bartoli and Gabetta’s lightness of touch which made the listener think they were playing a game rather than giving a concert. The choir sang the Hebrew text of Bernstein’s piece and verses of Walt Whitman of Williams’ cantata with dedication and power required from this music celebrating the strength of humanity in the times of distress. It was indeed wonderful to see the boys faces illuminated by such serious emotions, and suddenly one felt overwhelmed with the feeling of unity with one’s fellow inhabitants of this world. Thus, this second evening continued to bring alive the beauty of vocal and instrumental harmony, but in a completely different, serious and uplifting, rather than joyful, tender and cheerful way which was characteristic of Bartoli and Gabetta. While they were entirely different in programme, tone and intention, they were surely complementing each other.

 

 

 

 

 

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