Academy of Ancient Music

MICHAEL DRAKE St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


St Andrew's Hall, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

As last evening's concert by the academy progressed the possibility of my personal beatification of Bach became more likely as AAM caressed their way through two quite contrasting works by JSB.

First came the fifth Brandenburg Concerto and the academy's mellow tone was maintained throughout including an animated allegro and especially from the director Richard Egarr at the harpsichord with what must be one of the most complicated and virtuousic cadenzas in music.

With him, the other soloists - Rachel Brown (flute) and violinist Pavlo Beznosiuk - had it all their own way in the middle section whilst cello played a more prominent part in the rhythmic finale.

From the same pen, the A Minor concerto for Violin was non-stop Bach with typically many slip roads for the soloists but including some beautiful sostenuto lines in the andante.

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Then to what was described by the director as “a crazy piece” - CPE Bach's concerto in D Minor for harpsichord. I would not go that far but there were moments of humour and much more urgency allowing the academy even more opportunity to display tonal contrasts and strong rhythms. What would dad have said? Possibly, 'well done son, keep trying'.

Further contrasts came in a pair of Telemann concerti starting with that in D Minor for flute given a relatively sedate opening over the decorated flute scoring leading to the soloist dancing her way through the allegro.

Finally, the Concerto in A Major for flute, violin and vello and notable for a delightful section with flute and violin in duologue over cello pizzicato.

The AAM was masterful in ensemble and always mindful of what solo instruments were doing - they deserve elevation on high for this performance.

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