Orchestra of the Age of Englightenment

MICHAEL DRAKE Norfolk and Norwich Festival event at St Andrew's Hall, Norwich


The OAE were obviously in the same vibrant mood as they had been for the previous Brandenburg concerts, in a programme for top brass – in the musical sense that is.

The three remaining Bach Brandenburg Concerti with Richard Egarr again directing energetically from the harpsichord, opened brightly with No 1, quickly moving to mellow bloom from horns and oboes, while No 2 contained a literally brilliant Allegro from the trumpet and even more so in the finale.

And in each half something different – first Bach's Harpsichord Concerto in D minor with Egarr as soloist in a real dialogue with strings.

Described by him as a "coffee house" concerto, a more intimate atmosphere than the dear old hall can provide, it was nevertheless hugely enjoyable.

As was the the Sonata in F from the contemporary but rather lesser known Johann Heinichen.

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Invidious perhaps to select one of the Brandenburgs, but if forced I would choose No 4 – quite delightful with the two recorders and violin full of expressive harmony and decoration. And finally a masterclass in what to do with a fugue.

From both soloists and orchestra it was enlightenment indeed. Surprisingly neither of these concerts drew full houses but for those who missed them it will be worth looking out for the BBC Radio 3 recording.

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