L'Entente Cordiale

CHRISTOPHER SMITH King of Hearts, Norwich


> King of Hearts, Norwich

In a recital for the 15th anniversary of the King of Hearts - which has done so much for early music in Norwich - the idea was to contrast English and French composers from the 17th and early 18th centuries.

The development of the arts in the period meant, however, that there was no denying a place to Italy either.

London Baroque, with two violins, a bass viol and harpsichord, had begun with a fancy by John Jenkins and a pavan by Purcell.

Later, it made a deeper impression with the French composer Couperin's imagin-ative tribute to Corelli, his Italian contemporary.

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Lorna Anderson also started with Purcell, putting her attractive mezzo voice to good use in songs that were either open-heartedly jolly or persuasively passionate.

The Plaint from The Fairy Queen was especially powerful. Her interpretation prepared us for the most interesting piece in the whole programme. It was a cantata by Michel de Monteclair for solo voice with string and keyboard accompaniment. The recitatives set the scene with economy. Then arias allowed for fuller expression of heroic virtue and desperate resolve.

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