Concert Review

Bach and his Contemporaries King's Consort, Robert King director, with singers  Wigmore Hall 9 December 1999.

This ambitious 250th Anniversary series, mostly being given at Wigmore Hall, runs through until March and aims to put J S Bach's music in context and bring to higher profile some of his contemporaries who have remained under Bach's shadow. This particular programme included a Balletti Lamentabili. by Biber which had an attractive, dark sonority, with two violas, organ and theorbo. There was a jolly Telemann Ouverture 'Perpetuum mobile' but a Sinfonia by Krebs (a major Bach pupil and copyist) sounded undistinguished.

An item by Schelle had to be cancelled because one of the soprano soloists lost her voice just hours before the concert, and there was another substitute, one of the basses, because of a seasonal infection.

The two cantatas were a 'sacred concerto' O leilige Zeit by Kuhnau, suggested as an influence upon Bach and Handel, and Wachet auf, one of Bach's own last cantatas, in which three oboes (one lower one described as a taille) varied the texture. But, despite the participation of singers as prestigious as James Bowman & Robin Blaze (countertenors) and Robert King's stalwart tenor, Charles Daniels, this was not one of The King's Consort's finest evenings, a little lack lustre, spirits dampened by the cold weather and indispositions of two singers.

Peter Grahame Woolf

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