Brook Street Band

FRANK CLIFF The Brook Street Band's usual fare of early 18th century music benefited from some additions, both of the little known and the brand new.

FRANK CLIFF

The Brook Street Band's usual fare of early 18th century music benefited from some additions, both of the little known and the brand new at Wednesday's lunchtime recital at The Athenaeum, Bury St Edmunds.

Joseph Bologne de Saint-Georges was a black musician who lived and worked in France in the latter part of the 18th century and it was interesting to hear a charming, if somewhat naive, trio of his so impeccably played. Marianna Szucs, violin, Tatty Theo's cello and Carolyn Gibley's harpsichord were equally fine in stylish performances of sonatas by Leclair and Handel, though

their version of Handel's D major violin sonata was perhaps a little restrained.


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However, it was the premiere of Erollyn Wallen's The Queen and I that stole this particular show.

A chance meeting with the band at Dartington led her to compose the lyrics and music for the four songs, which cleverly relate to the repertoire of the baroque ensemble.

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Sheba's Stopper, for instance, has a Handelian motif that pays homage to The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba; Dido is a reworking of Dido's Lament and so on.

Clever and hilariously funny, they were sung by Wallen herself.

She projects a tremendous personality which completely captivated an audience normally more attuned to the rarefied atmosphere of the baroque. Totally unexpected and a real tonic.

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