Mr. Corelli in London
Vivaldi, Violin Concertos, op. 4
Only a large handful of the musicians are on the tour, but with Harry Bicket at the keyboard and directing, it was a taut and unified performance. Violinist Rachel Podger served with panache as leader of the ensemble, playing with the bravura technique and clean tone missed at times in the solos of Chiara Banchini with Ensemble 415 last week. With a sweet sound that was laser-precise, Podger sliced her way through Vivaldi's trio sonata on the repeating bass pattern known as La Follia (op. 1/12, RV 63), which easily outclassed Ensemble 415's performance of the same piece. William Carter provided a Spanish-flavored improvisation on Baroque guitar as an introduction, setting up a performance that preserved the occasionally manic energy of "La Follia." Podger gave an even greater display of virtuosity in Vivaldi's D major violin sonata known as "Il Grosso Mogul." She treated the final solo episode of both outer movements with the freedom of a cadenza, playing with blinding speed and dazzling technical polish, while giving the enigmatic slow movement ("Recitativo: Grave") an exotic, expressive turn, responding to the tremolos and Turkish-flavored folk ensemble sound of the whole group. Cellist Jonathan Manson also had a pleasing turn in Vivaldi's C minor cello concerto, RV 401, a rather somber piece that breaks with most of the stereotypes of what to expect from a Vivaldi concerto (indeed, he did not write the same concerto 500 times).
Alex Baker, English Concert at the Library of Congress (Wellsung, October 14)
Andrew Lindemann Malone, Do It, England: The English Concert at the Library of Congress (DMV Classical, October 16)
Joe Banno, Starry English Concert rivets with Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Handel (Washington Post, October 18)
The next concert at the Library of Congress is in the same excellent vein, featuring the Talich Quartet (October 21, 8 pm) in quartets by Beethoven, Janáček, and Dvořák. Alice Coote returns to Washington next month for a recital sponsored by Vocal Arts D.C. (November 4, 7:30 pm), in a program of more recent British songs at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater.