The Academy of St Thomas
CHRISTOPHER SMITH St Andrew's Hall, Norwich
> St Andrew's Hall, Norwich
Two peaks emerged from this intriguing programme that set out to reveal the riches of the double concerto in the Baroque era.
It was to be expected the second movement of Bach's Concerto in D Minor for two violins would make a great impact. Slow, apparently fragile yet with inner strength, the long lines were spun out with great control and just the right amount of elasticity. The soloists, Pavlo Beznosiuk and Rachel Podger, brought confidence as well as conviction. What was surprising was the impact of another slow movement, this time the middle section of Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto in B flat for oboe and violin. Earlier, in Bach's concerto for the same pair of instruments, Frank de Bruine had appeared a junior partner. The limitations of his period instrument seemed too clear.
Violinist Beznosiuk went about his business with panache that would be perfectly welcome in other circumstances. How different matters seemed when the balance was better adjusted. Vivaldi had cut away the accompaniment just to cello, harpsichord and
theorbo. Checking her exuberance, Podger graciously accepted the lesser role assigned to her. Consequently de Bruine, given his fair chance, was able to make his point elegantly and eloquently.
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The programme also featured two works by Handel. His concept of the concerto was no less rewarding.