Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Chopin Year in Israel: Polish pianist Karol Radziwonowicz in a solo recital of Polish music at the Einav Center

Polish pianist Karol Radziwonowicz performed an evening of Polish music at the Einav Center (Tel Aviv) June 26th 2010. Under the auspices of the Polish Institute in Tel Aviv, this unique recital was one of the events of the Chopin Year in Israel program. Maestro Radziwonowicz (b. 1958,Warsaw) began his piano studies with his father, and, on graduating from the Fryderyk Chopin Academy of Music (Warsaw), won a Fulbright scholarship to study under George Sebok at the School of Music of Indiana University, Bloomington (USA). Maestro Radziwonowicz performs widely. He is the first pianist to have recorded all the piano works of Paderewski.

Karol Radziwonowicz’s program presented works not only of Chopin but of other Polish composers whose music had been influenced in various ways and degrees by that of Chopin. 2010 marks the 150th anniversary of Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s (1860-1941) birth. A strongly patriotic Pole and talented orator known for his charisma, Paderewski divided his professional life between virtuoso piano performances far and wide and philanthropic and diplomatic functions. (He served as Poland’s prime minister and foreign minister.) His compositional oeuvre includes many piano pieces. Radziwonowicz performed a number of pieces by Paderewski, from the descriptive “narrative” of Legend no.2, opus 16 no.5, to the delicate, haunting inner sadness of Nocturne in B flat major, opus 16 no.4, to traditional Polish dances - the joyful, virtuosic and lively Cracovienne Fantastique, opus 14 no.6 and the proud, positive and festive Polonaise in B major, opus 9 no.6, taking us into the sparkle and excitement of the ballroom. Radziwonowicz played Paderewski’s much loved Menuet celebre, opus 14 no.1 with entertaining lightness and a wink of an eye, peppering his reading of it with whimsical fermatas.

Karol Szymanowski’s (1882-1937) Etude in B flat minor, opus 4 no.3, composed when the composer was 20 years old, was written for Paderewski whose playing of the work brought much fame to Szymanowski. Radziwonowicz’s treatment of it was sensitive, addressing its expressive sadness and intensity in depth. Szymanowski’s Variations in B flat minor opus 3, dating from 1901-1903, were dedicated to Arthur Rubinstein. Radziwonowicz presented the variation subject in carefully paced seriousness, this to be followed by variations delightfully contrasting with each other in mood and texture. Radziwonowicz brings out the richly varied, pianistic canvas of this virtuosic concert piece.

Of the works he composed later in his short life, we heard Polish pianist and composer Juliusz Zarebski’s (1854-1885) Polish Fantasy, opus 9 , imaginative in its pianistic orchestration and Two Waltzes from opus 30.

Works of Fryderyk Chopin (1810-1849) were woven into the program between works of the other Polish composers. In an interview with Radziwonowicz, the pianist talked of Chopin’s music being more emotionally accessible to people of Polish origin due to its “zal” (Polish:sadness). Radziwonowicz’s performance of Nocturne in B major, opus 9 no.3 and of Nocturne in B flat minor opus 9 no.1 were created of this very underlying sadness. Fragile and unrushed, the pianist’s melodiousness defying the limitations of a hammer instrument, his gossamer passagework sketched in pastel, weightless shapes, Radziwonowicz gives melodic lines profile, his use of the sustaining pedal clean. He thus takes his listeners into the inner world of Chopin’s burdened soul. In strong contrast, the Mazurkas on the program were exhilarating, proud and noble, full-textured and energetic, the artist using rubato freely, expressing the joy of dance with a sense of well-being to be punctuated only temporarily by a hint of “zal”. Not so the Grande Valse Brillante in A minor, opus 34 no.2, its gloomy message stated in melancholic simplicity. Following a fine rendition of the Impromptu-Fantasie in C sharp minor, the recital ended with the rousing and lustrous Polonaise in A major, opus 40 no.1, sometimes referred to as the Military Polonaise. (Anton Rubinstein spoke of the latter as “the symbol of Polish glory”.)

As an encore, the pianist performed Chopin’s Nocturne no 20 in C sharp minor, opus posthumous. This was the first Chopin piece Radziwonowicz had learned from his father and the pianist dedicated his transparently delicate and poignant performance of it to his father’s memory.

The audience included many people of Polish extraction, interested to make a connection with their own culture and tradition. It was an emotional journey for them. For those of us not from a Polish background, it was thought-provoking, enriching and indeed moving. Maestro Radziwonowicz’s recital presented works not often heard in the Israeli concert hall alongside those of the great genius of Chopin. His program offered a rich picture of Polish Romantic music – its delicacy, its sadness, its wealth of folk influences and dances, its pride, joy and nobility. His virtuosic technique, his palette of colors and timbres, his rhythmic spontaneity and nuancing are matched with his profoundly sensitive reading into each phrase. Karol Radziwonowicz’s recital was surely a highlight of the concert season and the Chopin Year in Israel.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Perlman Music Program's 2010 Jerusalem workshop for outstanding young string players in collaboration with the Israel Festival

The Perlman Music Program, directed by Mrs. Toby Perlman and co-chaired by Maestro Itzhak Perlman, was founded by Toby Perlman in 1993. Based in New York City and Shelter Island, NY, the PMP conducted a two-and-a half week residency in Jerusalem May 20th to June 6th headed by Itzhak and Toby Perlman and joined by an international faculty, some teachers and students coming from the USA, with some students and faculty being from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music (Tel Aviv) and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. Many of the Israeli students taking part are recipients of America-Israel Foundation scholarships, graduates of the Outstanding Musicians Program of the Jerusalem Music Centre and participants in the Outstanding Musicians Program of the Israel Defense Forces Education Corps. Of the 42 young string players taking part in the workshop, half were PMP alumni from around the world. A long list of Israeli and American donors and supporters made the 2010 Jerusalem PMP workshop a reality.

The students’ daily program consisted of orchestral playing under the baton of Maestro Perlman, chamber music sessions, the opportunity to play classical Arabic ensemble music, individual lessons with faculty members, choral singing (students singing together with faculty) and performance. The chamber music repertoire chosen for the workshop was Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 18 quartets; alongside the chamber music coaches, the Ariel Quartet, its players graduates of PMP and the JMC Outstanding Musicians Programs, was chosen to be the quartet in residence in the 2010 Jerusalem PMP. When not busy with music, participants were taken on sight-seeing trips around Israel.

The Gala Concert of the 2010 Jerusalem PMP took place June 3rd in the Henry Crown Symphony Hall of the Jerusalem Theatre. Mrs. Toby Perlman spoke of the PMP representing the realization of her dream of providing outstanding young musicians with a nurturing and supportive learning environment in an atmosphere suitable and comfortable to young people. Hed Sella, director of the Jerusalem Music Centre, expressed how happy and excited the JMC was to host the first Jerusalem PMP program and thanked the Perlmans for the wonderful experience. Jerusalem mayor, Nir Barkat, also thanked the Perlmans for bringing the program to Jerusalem, adding that such events deepen and widen Jerusalem’s artistic- and cultural life. Barkat’s wish is that the program now be an annual event in Jerusalem.

The JMC’s Outstanding Musicians Program seeks to cultivate cultural diversity and places high value on Arabic music, offering its young players the opportunity to experience it at first hand. Toby Perlman talked about the PMP’s approach of “investigating” music, hence a series of lessons in classical Arabic music in the workshop in which participants played and improvised along with four of the outstanding musicians from the JMC’s program – violinist Firas Esami, percussionist Rami Anton, qanun player Osama Shahouk and oud player Thaer Bader. The evening’s program opened with two short classical Arabic pieces, played on bowed instruments, qanun, oud and tambourine, conducted by Professor Taiseer Elias of the faculty of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, Bar Ilan University and the musical director and conductor of the Youth Orchestra of Classical Arabic Music. The first piece performed, “Samai Shad Araban” (the samai is a composed genre consisting of four sections, each followed by a refrain) by Turkish virtuoso and composer Cemil Bey Tanburi (1873-1916), an arrangement created for the ensemble, was expressive and elegant, fine details addressed, each phrase finely chiseled. “Dhikrayati” (My Memories) by Egyptian oud player and composer Muhamad Al Qasabji (1892-1966), an evocative piece of temperament, contrasting bowed with plucked textures, lyrical- with intense moments and solo- with tutti sections, offered the audience a chance to hear delicate, intricate solos on oud (Bader), qanun (Shahouk) and violin (Firas).

The Perlman Music Program believes that the skills needed for singing relate directly to those demanded in instrumental playing and that non-trained singers can benefit from and enjoy being in a choir. All students and staff took part in a daily choral session run by tenor and choral conductor Patrick Romano, choral director of the PMP, of the Julliard School Pre-College Division and choral director and faculty member of Sarah Lawrence College. Romano and his choir performed a number of works by Johannes Brahms accompanied by faculty pianists Yi-Fang Huang and John Root. Two pieces from Brahms’ Requiem and three from the Liebeslieder Waltzes were given a detailed reading, attention given to diction, contrast, color and expression. In “Songbird” from the Liebeslieder cycle, Romano took the solo part, his rich, warm timbre and vocal presence indeed pleasurable.

The third part of the evening’s concert was devoted to performance of the students’ string orchestra, conducted by Itzhak Perlman. It began with W.A.Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K.546. Mozart’s exposure to the Bach fugues had had a profound influence on him. The fugue was originally composed for two pianos but Mozart arranged it for strings in 1788. Youthful energy and articulate, competent string playing made for a polished performance of this small but profound gem.

Composer and ethnomusicologist, Professor Andre Hajdu (b. Hungary 1932, in Israel from 1966) composed his Divertimento for Strings in 1988. Opening with the fresh, light and positive Allegretto precisioso and closing with the highly tonal, strongly profiled Finale-Vivo, the work presents a variety of moods, styles and modes, creating a musical canvas of humor, nostalgia, personal expression and, as in the fourth movement, reference to folk melodies, as well as offering small solos throughout. A lesson in miniatures, this attractive work gave the young string players a glimpse into Israeli music and was handled gracefully by Perlman and his players. Professor Hajdu was present at the performance.

The evening’s musical program ended with Antonin Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings in E major opus 22 (1875). Bringing out the hearty, positive and songful character of the work, its freshness and old-world naivete, with its blend of classical- and folk harmony, the young players’ performance was lush in sound, delicate and sympathetic, wistful at times, full and carefree at others. Perlman had his players changing places between each movement – a little disturbing to the audience, but of advantage to the orchestral experience of the students. The maestro is warm and informal with them, his direction giving expression to individual voices together with a richly blended and satisfying string sound. It was an evening sparkling with zest and fine musicianship, with enthusiasm and joy. The Jerusalem audience showed interest in hearing the 42 aspiring young string players in concert.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Le Poeme Harmonique in the 2010 Israel Festival

Le Poeme Harmonique (France) was founded in 1998 by lutenist Vincent Dumestre, who today continues to be its musical director. The ensemble’s performances focus on music of the 17th- and 18th centuries; they are presented in an authentic, theatrical manner, some performances being enriched by actors, dancers and even circus artists. Le Poeme Harmonique’s “Venezia dalla strade ai Palazzi (Venice: From the Streets to the Palaces) featured as part of the 2010 Israel Festival on May 31st in the Henry Crown Symphony Hall of the Jerusalem Theatre. “Venezia dalla strade ai Palazzi” presents music of composers active in Venice in the first half of the 17th century, with emphasis on those central to the development of vocal music and Venetian opera. The concert's program notes discuss the music of a composer calling himself “Il Fasolo” and whether Giovanni Battista Fasolo – a Franciscan friar – and Francesco Manelli – a composer working in Venice - were one and the same person. Soprano Claire Lefilliatre, tenor Serge Goubioud, Jan van Elsacker and bass Arnaud Marzorati were joined by Johannes Frisch-violin, Lucas Peres-lirone (a bowed, stringed, fretted member of the lira family), Francoise Enock—violone, Jean-Luc Tamby-lute and Baroque guitar, Joel Grare-percussion and Vincent Dumestre, himself, conducting and playing theorbo and Baroque guitar.

The stage is in darkness, to be lit only by two large candelabras. (Instrumentalists had electric lights on their music stands.) With the hall then plunged into darkness, the program opened with a rich and riveting performance by bass Marzorati of “Dormo ancora” (Am I still asleep?), the soliloquy from Claudio Monteverdi’s (1567-1643) “Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria” (1640), in which Ulysses expresses concern with his own state. This was followed by the “Lamento della Ninfa” (Lament of the Nymph) from Monteverdi’s Eighth Book of Madrigals (Madrigals of War and Love, 1638) in a heart-rending and profoundly emotional yet controlled performance by Lefilliatre, the male vocal trio alluding to her suffering, the insistent falling 4-note ostinato constantly reminding the listener of the madrigal’s message.

The program included languorous songs by composer and theorbo player Benedetto Ferrari (1603-1681) on the subject of suffering in love.
‘I am defenseless,
Fired with passion;
This traitor Love
Is leading me to the place
Where gradually
My ardour increases;
If I make haste
My heart languishes.
If I halt
I am told I am base;
How unhappy I am!
I am defenseless,
Fired with passion….’ “Son ruinato, appassionato” Benedetto Ferrari

Ferrari and Francesco Manelli (1594-1667) both settled in Venice in 1636, where their operas were performed for affluent members of the general public, not just for the aristocracy. There was much collaboration between the two. Manelli’s love songs heard in the program reflect the same despair as those of Ferrari. The ensemble’s performance of Francesco Manelli’s “Bergamasca: La Barchetta passagiera” (The Passenger Boat), published in Rome in 1627, however, brings about a total change in atmosphere: it is a colorful vignette of conversations between men on a boat . (The bergamesca is a lusty 16th century peasant dance, probably a fast, circular dance for men and women, depicting the reputedly awkward manners of the inhabitants of Bergamo, northern Italy, where the dance supposedly originated.) We hear the men - from Germany, France, Spain and from different regions of Italy, also the boat owner - in much discussion about the various kinds of food and drink they have with them. The male singers of Le Poeme Harmonique give it a dynamic, humorous and energetic performance, bringing a carnival atmosphere, well doused with drink, to the concert hall.

It was an evening of superb artistry, of much interesting movement - mostly expressive hand movements - on the part of the singers, of songs of delicate, sensuous textures and meaning, of heartbreak, on one hand, and of lusty- and lustful joie-de-vivre, on the other. Le Poeme Harmonique’s instrumental ensemble playing was outstandingly delicate and tasteful, its mix of timbres, indeed, delightful. Dumestre is daring and intense. His singers are forthright and impressive. Claire Lefilliatre is a soprano with a powerful mix of vocal colors that match her emotional expression and involvement. The program notes were informative, interesting and included all texts. Unfortunately, with the hall in complete darkness, the audience was unable to follow the texts.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The King's Singers open the 2010 Israel Festival

The 2010 Israel Festival opened on May 26th with a performance of The King’s Singers(UK) at the Henry Crown Symphony Hall of the Jerusalem Theatre. No newcomers to Israeli audiences, the renowned a cappella ensemble – countertenors David Hurley and Timothy Wayne-Wright, tenor Paul Phoenix, baritones Philip Lawson and Christopher Gabbitas, and bass Stephen Connolly – have a large and varied repertoire, perform widely, have made over 150 recordings, have commissioned over 200 new works, hold master classes and have published many of their arrangements for the use of the public.

The program opened with a well-balanced selection of European Renaissance and Baroque pieces. Opening with the message of Orlando de Lassus’ (c.1532-1594) “Musica Dei donum”, The King’s Singers' superbly blended and richly colored signature sound, true in its absence of vibrato, promised for an evening of fine singing and luxuriant sounds:

‘Music, the gift of the supreme God, draws men, draws gods;
Music makes savage souls gentle and uplifts sad minds.
Music moves the very trees and wild beasts.’

Reflecting the many approaches to love, we experience a lively reading of Thomas Morley’s (1557-1602) flirtatious “Now Is The Month of Maying” and the mystery, tensions and suffering of the admirer in Spanish court composer Juan Vasquez’ (c.1500-1560) cancion “Gentil senora mia” (My gracious lady). Many of French composer Pierre Passereau’s (fl.1509-1547) surviving works are chansons of the Parisian type, popular in the 1530’s. Typically rustic in character, bristling with effects, patter and off-color humor, “Il est bel est bon” (He is handsome and fine) takes place in the market place where two women are discussing their husbands; the whimsical score includes the clucking of chickens, perhaps a reflection of the contents of the women’s conversation. Surely one highlight of the evening’s concert was The King’s Singers’ rendition of Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi’s (1567-1643) “Si ch’io vorrei morire” (Yes, I wish to die), from his Fourth Book of Madrigals (1603) to words of Maurizio Moro. Opening with a burst of silvery energy, the singers present the sensuous text with volatile Italian temperament, the timbres of their voices “orchestrating” the score in scintillating colors, their all-out emotional reading of the piece leaving the audience moved and humbled.

Franco-Flemish court composer Heinrich Isaac’s (c.1445-1517) lament “Innsbruck, ich muss dich lassen” (Innsbruck, I must leave you) was given a sympathetic, intimate and delicate reading. Ending the section of early music, the singers performed Thomas Weelkes’ (1756-1623) playful madrigal “As Vesta was in Latmos hill descending”, one of the 25 from the collection “The Triumphs of Oriana” (1601) dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I.

The second section of the program focused on Romantic pieces, most of which were, once again, on the subject of love. Bob Chilcott, a former member of The King’s Singers, arranged for a cappella sextet “Wenn ich in deine Augen seh’” (When I look into your eyes) from Robert Schumann’s(1810-1856) Dichterliebe cycle (1840). Poignant and expressive, with a lovely baritone solo, the poem’s end presents a bitter message to the pining admirer. The ensemble performed composer, arranger and conductor Goff Richards’ arrangement of Franz Schubert’s (1797-1828) “Who is Sylvia” (Shakespeare) in English. Allotting solos to tenor and countertenor, Richards translates the piano accompaniment into delicate, light vocal staccato textures, evoking a somewhat Swingles Singers effect (Richards has arranged works for the Swingles Singers.) Another arrangement for vocal sextet from voice and piano, Gabriel Faure’s (1845-1924) “Lydia” Opus 2(words:Leconte de Lisle), offering attractive, small solos, is subtly suggestive and fluid in its sophisticated asymmetry. The words to Edward Elgar’s (1857-1934) four-part strophic “O Happy Eyes” Opus 18 were written by his wife (and piano pupil) Caroline. The singers present the song’s sweet sentimentality with sincere simplicity and transparency. This section of the program ended with a carefully paced performance of Johannes Brahms’ (1833-1897) evocative and meditative “Waldesnacht” (Wondrously cool woodland night) opus 62, no.3 (text: Paul Heyse).

Following the intermission, taking leave of the mostly heavy issues concerning composers and poets of the Renaissance-, Baroque- and Romantic periods, we move into lighter, less formal 20th- and 21st century genres. British composer, conductor, pianist and teacher Paul Drayton’s (b.1944) “Masterpiece” is a witty collage of composers’ names, styles and catch-words, spanning over 400 years. The King’s Singers enjoy natural, British humor and aim to see their audiences well entertained; so whether one likes such a work or not, one can not but admit that they perform it flawlessly and with effortless verve. The concert ended with “Simple Gifts” – a selection of jazz, folk- and pop songs from The King’s Singers’ recent Grammy-winning album “Simple Gifts”. Whether an elegantly presented Nat King Cole piece, complete with double bass pizzicato, Beetles songs, a velvety choral blend in Manhattan Transfer’s “Chanson d’amour” or a trippy, pure-sounding bluegrass version of “Out of the Woods”, the singers address each piece, mood and individual style in the minutest detail.

The King’s Singers bring a cappella music to a level of musicianship that takes your breath away. The singers communicate with each other and with their audiences. Their programs appeal to people of different tastes and the 2010 Israel Festival was all the richer and more joyful for their visit.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Henry Purcell's "King Arthur" in the 2010 Israel Festival

Henry Purcell’s semi-opera “King Arthur or the British Worthy” (1691), premiered by the Theatre Royal Company at Dorset Garden on the Thames (London), a venue equipped with the means to create fast and interesting effects, became very popular in London in the last decade of the seventeenth century. Celebrating 350 years since Purcell’s birth, the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra performed the “dramatick opera” as part of the 2010 Israel Festival, this writer attending the May 29th performance at the Henry Crown Symphony Hall, Jerusalem Theatre. It was directed and conducted by Maestro Andrew Parrott (UK), the honorary conductor of the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra. Vocal soloists were Israeli sopranos Ye’ela Avital and Anat Edri, tenor Simon Wall (UK) and baritone Thomas Guthrie (UK). Joining the forces of- and soloing with the JBO were British artists Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet), Hannah McLaughlin (oboe) and violinist Kati Debretzeni (born in Transylvania, in Israel from age 15) currently residing in London. Together with the Jerusalem Baroque Orchestra, its founder and musical director David Shemer at the harpsichord, was the New Israeli Vocal Ensemble (Yuval Ben-Ozer, director.) The spoken rhyming narrative text, central to and running throughout “King Arthur”, inspired by the original text by John Dryden, was created with insight and humor by Thomas Guthrie. Guthrie had prepared the text especially for the "King Arthur" performances in Israel. Professor Harai Golomb’s Hebrew translation of it, faithful to Guthrie’s text and reflecting the spirit of it, was read by Alex Ansky. The synopsis of the work in the printed program was written by by Galia Regev.

‘Now welcome all, and lend your ears.
Our story let us tell:
Of ancient foes, of war now hear,
That made England a writhing hell;
Of subterfuge, of trickery,
Of ruined peace, stability,
Of magic and of sorcery,
Of courage and fragility.
For LOVE’s our theme,
We know it well,
(and ne’er a theme
has sold do well)…’(Thomas Guthrie)

Thus begins Guthrie’s verse, actually summarizing much of the plot of “King Arthur”, one in which the principal characters themselves do not actually sing: those who sing are either supernatural, pastoral or drunk! How convincing a performance can one produce from such a story of battle, magic and love, with some unlikely elements, for a 21st century audience? The answer is - a very convincing performance, with Parrott at the helm. Tenor Simon Wall, no newcomer to Israeli audiences, is an artist with a wide scope. Illuminating texts and situations, he involves his audience in each different piece and gesture. Taking into account the acoustic possibilities of the hall, Wall’s vocal ease and richness are matched by his musicianship and quiet confidence. Baritone Thomas Guthrie performs widely. A singer, stage- and opera director, he has taken part in music workshops with London’s homeless people. Reflecting high points of the plot, Guthrie’s stable range and vocal competence, combined with fine stage presence and humor, make for much mirth and enjoyment. Guthrie had contributed much to the evening’s program and to the general production of the performance. Anat Edri is still a student at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance but her taste in- and suitability for Baroque music are clear. There was a happy blend of voices and feminine charm and Edri and Ye’ela Avital’s musicality in “Two daughters of this aged stream”. As yet, Edri’s relationship to the music is closer than to the words and word play at hand. Ye’ela Avital’s appealing voice and sympathetic personality never fail to affect her audience; she takes on each role with conviction, her emotional approach to character and plot woven into delicately ornamented melodic lines.

The New Israeli Vocal Ensemble (its director Yuval Ben-Ozer joining his singers in the performance) boasts a fine selection of well trained young singers, its high quality performance focusing on a full, rounded vocal sound, accuracy, musical shaping and flexibility. Parrott had the choral singers juggling with the sounds, consonants and the double entendres found in Dryden’s text. Parrott addresses the instrumental dimension of “King Arthur” in depth, bringing out the score’s contrasts, its sweeping phrases, presenting its various pieces and dances with charm and variety, reading into its human expression with poignancy. The wind band presented some very nice moments. In the Frost Scene of Act 3, the general temperature of the Henry Crown Auditorium seemed to drop considerably, the strings quivering with cold, the “cold people’s” teeth chattering icily and the “cold genius” (Guthrie) shaking and almost paralyzed with cold. Joining Jerusalem’s fine Baroque Orchestra and soloing, Baroque trumpeter Crispian Steele-Perkins’s playing added sparkle and enjoyment to the evening, as did that of Baroque oboist Hannah McLaughlin. Kati Debretzeni, assuming the role of first violin, led the section with verve, adding to the hilarity of the performance with her drunken reeling around the stage joining Comus (Wall) and his peasant friends. An effective sense of theatre and movement was created by vocal soloists walking on and off the stage.

Harai Golomb’s richly evocative translation of Guthrie's text was read by actor and veteran radio personality Alex Ansky. Ansky’s somewhat lifeless reading of the text did not complement the variety and temperament infused into the magical performance of Purcell’s “King Arthur”, an evening of pure delight created by Maestro Andrew Parrott, his singers and instrumentalists.