“vivid and dramatic… vibrant, exciting playing” – read the review of Purcell’s The Indian Queen

‘How should one define Purcell’s last major work, The Indian Queen? … However we term it, Purcell’s input to The Indian Queen contains some vivid and dramatic music… it remains – at its best – quite meaty stuff, as this ultra-reliable and spirited revival by Ex Cathedra, inspired by its founder and conductor, Jeffrey Skidmore, showed…

‘Ex Cathedra’s instrumental team, under Skidmore’s shrewd, experienced nursing, shone at every point: organ, archlute, harp and all strings, solo cello especially. This was vibrant, exciting playing. And to cap it all, some thrilling contributions from a very impudent and insistent mixed drums and intermittent percussion, with fabulous rhythmic alertness by the phenomenally nimble Simone Rebello.

‘We are not finished with the charms of Central and South America. Before this Aztec quasi-drama Skidmore had some very appropriate music to offer as a first half.

‘His incredibly fresh and persistent personal researches in sundry music libraries of (at least) Mexico and Bolivia (and in part in the United States) have earned him widespread praise, not least for the most obvious publically available fruits of his labours: the series of superb recordings he has made with his choir on the Hyperion label. Here – in the handsomely refurbished Birmingham Town Hall, one of Ex Cathedra’s welcoming regular venues, thanks not least to a very acceptable acoustic – he focused especially on Juan de Araujo (1646-1712), Spanish-born, later organist of Lima cathedral in the Peruvian capital, and for three decades Maestro de Capilla of the wealthy cathedral at Sucre, one of the major centres in central Bolivia…

‘The spirit of the dance lasted right through to the last Araujo piece, ‘¡Ay andar!’: ‘Come on, shake those tambourines… You’ll be condemned to chilblains if you try to dodge the dancing’: a perfect outlet for the impish drum section, before a beautiful and moving recessional emptied the stage in conclusion of a beautifully managed first half: a scrumptious appetiser for the Purcell to come.’

Read the full review at www.seenandheard-international.com.

Don’t miss more Latin American Baroque Music at St Mary’s Church, Warwick on 26 March, and a repeat of this concert for the London Festival of Baroque Music at St John’s Smith Square on 17 May.

Posted in Reviews
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