Brook Street Band

CHRISTOPHER SMITH King of Hearts, Norwich

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

King of Hearts, Norwich

Named after Handel's London address, the Brook Street Band naturally featured quite a lot of his music in what was in fact a varied programme on the Christmas theme.

The founder of the ensemble, Tatty Theo, showed her style and deftness in an account of Handel's Sonata in D that was no less fluent and neat for moving at a cracking pace.

A cello sonata by Boismortier, though enlivened by a movement that echoed French folk music, made less of an impression, largely because most of it laid so low for her instrument.

She also contributed a delightfully crisp continuo to Nicky Kennedy's solos.

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As well as Rejoice Greatly, which she sang with fresh enjoyment, she performed three arias in German, two of them by Handel and one by Bach, and three in Italian.

Her sense of style could not be faulted, and she made every effort to convey changes in mood.

All the same, full texts and translations would have increased the pleasure of the audience. There was a sense of satisfaction when the soprano turned to English.

As well as accompanying, Carolyn Gibley was given her chance on the little organ as well as the harpsichord.

Though Rameau's La Poule was a lively piece of seasonal painting in music, the Noel by Daquin was even more pleasing with its quiet piping.

It was particularly charming for not trying to be too assertive or too clever.

Violinist Farran Scott's contribution to the recital was a Corelli sonata that took us back, if not to the festive theme of the recital, at least to the Rome that Handel visited in his younger days.