Melbourne Recital Centre
Wednesday, August 8
EARLY music specialists Latitude 37 presented the second of their Melbourne Recital Centre concerts featuring Italian and French music of the 16th and 17th centuries.
Titled Exile, this program took its inspiration from the changing fortunes of the Barberini dynasty, one of the most powerful families of Renaissance Italy.
Core members Julia Fredersdorff (baroque violin), Laura Vaughan (violas da gamba) and Donald Nicolson (harpsichord) were joined by guest artist Guy du Blet on percussion.
The trio play on copies of early instruments, using gut strings for violin and gambas to produce an authentic period sound. Much of the program was of canons, ricercare and toccatas, with simple opening themes being restated in layers of increasing melodic and rhythmic complexity. There is much scholarship in their approach to ornamentation and phrasing with their body language and frequent eye contact underscoring a common purpose.
Fredersdorff uses strong, fast bow, plenty of open strings, and the very occasional use of vibrato to produce a direct sound with a vocal quality.
Vaughan had lovely obbligato passages, arpeggiated chords and fluid retaking of her bow. She demonstrated versatility across a number of viols using the more mellow sound of the treble viol as a lovely contrast to the violin.
Guy du Blet added subtle rhythmic drive and some curious effects on a range of drums, bells, cymbals and other instruments.
Nicolson swapped between organ and harpsichord and, with the instruments in close proximity, even managed to play both at once during the opening bracket.
Reviewed by Martin Duffy