Monday, September 13, 2010

Roberto Gini and friends perform Telemann and J.S.Bach at the Felicja Blumental Centre (Tel Aviv)

Baroque music enthusiasts filled the auditorium of the Felicja Blumental Music Centre on September 6th 2010 to attend a concert titled “Much Telemann, A Little Bach”. Under the auspices of the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura (Tel Aviv), the concert brought Italian viola da gamba player, conductor and researcher Roberto Gini together with Israeli artists Drora Bruck-recorders, Orit Messer Jacobi-Baroque ‘cello, Bari Moscovich-theorbo and Miri Singer-harpsichord.

The printed program gave the list of pieces to be performed but with no details as to their tonalities and movements; these are their original titles. Maestro Gini explained that chamber music, at the time of G.Ph.Telemann (1681-1767), was performed in private homes and listened to in a particular way. He explained that written detail creates expectation; Gini likens Telemann’s function as composer to a great chef whose aim it is to provide a total culinary experience. And, indeed, it was.

The Telemann pieces offered vibrant playing, fragile moments, sensitively shaped phrases and fine teamwork. There was much communication and listening among all the artists, tasteful ornamentation, rests addressed for their role as punctuation and we heard much intuitive collaboration between Gini and Bruck in the trio sonatas. Their playing exuded warmth, their virtuosity never ruling out articulacy or overshadowing the music’s message.

Harpsichord, ‘cello and theorbo certainly provide a well-anchored, and rich continuo section, bristling with interesting textures. Orit Messer Jacobi’s performance of Telemann’s Sonata in G minor for Violoncello (originally in the key of F minor for either bassoon or recorder) was pure joy - expressive and moving, colored by dynamic and tempo changes.

Miri Singer’s playing has presence; she provides a very dependable, audience-accessable basis for all works. In the Trio in B flat major for Recorder, Harpsichord Obbligato and Basso Continuo, she gently sways rhythms as she spells out the text, Singer and Bruck addressing and answering each other, with Moscovich aware of- and joining the most delicate of gestures.

Maestro Gini spoke of Telemann’s Sonata in E minor for Viola da Gamba and Basso Continuo as belonging to a genre where the solo instrument takes on the role of the human voice. He referred to this specific work as a “funeral cantata” complete with recitative, the detached bass line depicting tears. Gini’s performance of the solo was crafted and profound.

It was between the years 1723 to 1729 that J.S.Bach (1685-1750) composed his six Trio Sonatas for Organ. The question remains as to which instrument they were written for and whether this very question is relevant to the Baroque composer. The manuscript gives the indication “a 2 Clav. et Pedal”, suggesting that Bach and his sons may have played them on a harpsichord with a pedal board. The works are, nevertheless, trios that adapt themselves to the trio sonata ensemble; Bach showed flexibility in his choice of instruments. We heard the third of the set, Trio Sonata for Organ in D minor, with Gini and Bruck both playing soprano instruments, their melodies woven into each other in a feat of fine duet playing. Tempi were taken at a weighty pace, giving expression to the decidedly aristocratic character of the work in all its tranquil richness, and allowing for beautifully sculpted phrase endings.

Roberto Gini and friends read deeply into each work; they leave no stone unturned. Their playing is exciting but controlled, exuding good taste and appealing to the senses.

No comments: