* Notes *
The English Concert, lead by Harry Bicket, played at Walt Disney Concert Hall last night as part of a tour that goes on to Chicago, Boston, Toronto, and New York. The program consisted of entirely Baroque music and started with Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber's Sonata No. 6 for trumpet, strings, and continuo. The trumpet soloist was Mark Bennett, who played the difficult instrument fairly accurately. The ensemble plays with emphatic (and undoubtedly informed) historicity. In any case, there was very little legato. The violist had a few harsh notes, but this was more textural than it was annoying.
After the Biber came several pieces by Henry Purcell. Countertenor Andreas Scholl (pictured above, photograph by James McMillan courtesy of Decca) sang "Sweeter than roses," "Music for a while," and "An evening hymn." The acoustic of Frank Gehry's building is much more flattering to Scholl's voice than Herbst Theatre or Zellerbach Hall. The overall effect was that of warmth and effortlessness. The ensemble went on to play scenes from Purcell's King Arthur, out of order, it seems, starting with the Chaccone. Scholl sang "O solitude, my sweetest choice," "What power art thou," and "Fairest isle." The percussiveness of "What power art thou" was striking.
Following the intermission, The English Concert played Georg Muffat's Passacaglia from Sonata V. The program returned to Purcell, with scenes from The Fairy Queen. This was interspersed with Scholl singing "One charming night" (from Act II of the aforementioned opera), the song "If music be the food of love," and "When I am laid in earth" (from Dido and Aeneas). The encore was "Music for a while."
* Tattling *
The audience was the most attentive I have observed in any of the Music Center venues. There was some quiet whispering, but never when Scholl was singing. Scholl himself stopped his first piece for the latecomers getting in their seats. He was very good-natured about waiting.
A watch alarm sounded at 10pm, during the encore.