Music / “Old Friends”, Apeiron Baroque at the Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest 13 August. Reviewed by LEN POWER.
AS well as performing fine music on period instruments, Apeiron Baroque’s players give relaxed, informative concerts and detailed explanations of their instruments.
In addition, the music of dances from the period came alive with dancer, Aimee Brown, director of Sydney Baroque Ballet, demonstrating and explaining the dances from the French court opera.
John Ma (violin/viola d’amore), Marie Searles (harpsichord), Anton Baba (cello/viola da gamba) and Gabriel Frømyhr (cello) performed works by Dario Castello, Jean-Baptiste Lully, Philipp Heinrich Erlebach, Johann Sebastian Bach, Thomas Baltzar and Arcangelo Corelli, all from the 17th and 18th centuries.
They began with Castello’s “Sonata Prima”. The combination of lively violin and sombre cello was very appealing and created a period atmosphere for the rest of the concert.
Brown danced in period costume in “Sarabande pour une Femme” by Lully. The intricate, light dance steps and arm movements added another fascinating dimension to the lilting music. Brown also danced a chaconne by Lully, a bouree by Bach and in the “Folla” sonata by Corelli.
John Ma explained the difference between a modern violin and a scordatura violin, which he played for the work by Erlebach. Its different tuning produced a unique sound in the music that was especially pleasing against the viola da gamba of Anton Baba and the harpsichord of Marie Searles.
Anton Baba also explained the features of the viola da gamba. His seven-stringed instrument was used to great effect in the “Anonymous” (Zaragotha) sonata and in the sonata by Erlebach.
Towards the end of the concert, John Ma played a prelude and almond by Thomas Baltzar on solo violin. This beautiful, melodic work was one of the highlights of the program.
The title of the concert, “Old Friends”, referred, not to the music, but to the fact that John Ma and Anton Baba went to school together and were now enjoying performing with each other.
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