The Private Music, Wingfield

FRANCES HART With snow on the ground outside, the young ensemble named The Private Music brought colour and warmth to Wingfield Arts' beautifully restored but chilly Great Barn.

FRANCES HART

With snow on the ground outside, the young ensemble named The Private Music brought colour and warmth to Wingfield Arts' beautifully restored but chilly Great Barn.

They celebrated the winter solstice with devotional items and barn music for secular celebrations harking back to pre-Christian times.

Hedvig Eriksson (soprano), Matthew Truscott (violin), Sarah Moffatt (violin), Abby Wall (cello) and Silas Standage (harpischord, organ) allowed us a Europe-wide tour embracing traditional tunes and music of the 17th century.

Hedvig's voice, a golden light in the dim barn, tripped with ease through the fiendish coloratura of Henry Purcell's Lord What Is Man and introduced us to traditional music of her country in the Swedish carol Valkommen O Jesu.

The instrumentalists blended without blandness and particularly showed their constant union of thought of performance in Arcangelo Corellis Christmas Concerto illustrated by slides of Old Masters and medieval illuminations. I particularly noted a strapping Christ Child at the breast and a Wise Man apparently conducting an ensemble of angels complete with lutinists.

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The Private Music's friendly communication brought us into their enjoyment of original choices for this time of year, including a tantalisingly short extract of folk music performed by Italian Pifferi on bagpipes and folk oboes. These wandering musicians were admired by Hector Berlioz in the 1830s as, wearing brown cloaks and pointed brigand hats, they performed sacred music before statues of the Madonna.

I was glad to hear some of my favourite dances arranged by the German composer Michael Praetoius, played on strings and accompanied by a delightful buzzy tone from a decorative chamber organ.

The concert ended with Pretoius's setting of In Dulci Jubilo. The skipping treatment of the final verse reminded us that originally carols were danced as well as sung.

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