Mad, Bad and Dangerous

CHRISTOPHER SMITH Octagon Chapel, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)


Octagon Chapel, Norwich (Norfolk and Norwich Festival)

For her late night recital the agile soprano Angharad Jones chose a programme of baroque pieces that explored the plight of distraught women in impassioned florid music.

Two of the songs were written for the London stage by John Eccles.

He was a contemporary of Henry Purcell, whose Blessed Virgins Expostulations belong to the religious tradition, and had equal psychological intensity.

Lucrezia, which Handel wrote during his Italian years, was long, more developed and even more emotional.

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The sequence of movements exploring the feelings of the outraged classical heroine was designed to showcase a well-honed vocal technique.

The singer responded readily to the challenge. Neat and expressive in the abundant ornamentations, she had the necessary power and looked the part.

Her performances were accompanied by two members of the Brook Street Band, an ensemble named after Handel's London address.

As well as playing a suite by Rameau, the harpsichordist Carolyn Gibley partnered Tatty Theo in one of Handel's recorder sonatas that she had transposed for cello. The arrangement came across well, if not quite persuasively.

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