Norwich Baroque

Programmes Press and Postludes

Saturday 30th April 2011 - Countertenor gems with Michael Chance

Countertenor Gems
Saturday 29th April 2011
Soloist : Michael Chance - countertenor
Director : Rebecca Livermore

Suite from Abdelezar - Purcell
Purcell Arias and Odes :
- Evening Hymn (from The Fairy Queen)
- Entrance of Night (from The Fairy Queen)
- By Beauteous Softness (from Now does the glorious day appear)
- Crown the altar
Battalia a 10 - Biber
Erbarme Dich (from St Matthew Passion)
Concerto Grosso Op.6 no.8 - Handel
Handel Arias:
- How beautiful are the feet of him (from Messiah)
- Thou shalt bring them in (from Israel in Egypt)
Chacony - Purcell
Don Quixote - Telemann

Eastern Daily Press Review :

I always gain an extra thrill when listening to the countertenor voice, and on Saturday evening a large audience shared that when Norwich Baroque's Patron, Michael Chance, presented some countertenor gems.

Purcell featured high in the programme and the Baroque immediately settled into an immaculate balance in a Suite from Abdelazar which, despite being written for a tragedy, was never mournful.

Michael Chance then displayed his purity of tone in a quartet of Purcell arias, including a joyously performed favourite in the genre, the Evening Hymn from The Fairy Queen. Norwich Baroque then turned to a quite extraordinary composition - von Biber's Battalia a 10 (in this case 14). Battle sounds are not always pleasant, but some of the scenes were particularly descriptive - especially in the presto movements.

Michael Chance then pleadingly sang the aria Erbarme Dich from Bach's St Matthew Passion and a pair of Handel arias, including a more decorated version of How lovely are the feet - but this with rivetting understatement. Purcell's Chacony was gently plaintive and the final Burlesque de Don Quixote Suite, by Telemann, was an orchestral story graphically played.

Michael Drake