Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014 part 1

Fringe concert: La Favilla

After the horrors involved in obtaining the day’s fringe concert tickets at Tivoli-Vredenburg, I hastened through Utrecht’s museum quarter to the Bartholomeus Gasthuis. At least this fringe concert – my first of the Utrecht Early Music Festival – took place in a period building. Once seated among public, also grumbling about the dreadful organisation and life threatening scenes at Tivoli-Vredenburg, I slowly started to unwind and get into the right festival mood.

La Favilla’s three members played 17th century music and started their concert with Suite 5 by Charles François Dieupart. It was satisfactorily performed and followed by “Le Badinage pour basse de viole et basse continue” by Marin Marais – played by Filipa Meneses and Joao Rival. Of the whole concert, this beautiful, haunting, melancholic piece impressed me most.

Only after these two pieces, did Isabel Favilla start her introduction. This was about halfway through the concert, so rather late. Background information about pieces, composers, influences, should come before each piece – or after the first suite at the latest. How the selected composers and music relate to this Festival’s theme – the Habsburg era, Vienna, Prague – was not explained either.

The concert continued with another piece by Charles François Dieupart, Sonata nr 2. This was followed by an explanation which I was unable to hear, though less than 10 rows from the group. The performance ended with sonata Opus 5, nr 4 by Arcangelo Corelli.

All pieces were, of course, perfectly executed. After frequenting this festival for years now, I know all fringe concert performers though young, play at elevated levels. The best are contracted by firms on the spot.

Isabella Favilla performs regularly throughout Europe with this and other ensembles. So la Favilla did not disappoint, but the performance did not exactly sparkle and a slight change in presentation would perhaps ensure better marks for podium presentation. Unfortunately, this concert seems to have been their only one during this festival.

Utrecht Festival Early Music: fringe concert La Favilla 30th August 2014, 11:00, Bartholomeus Gasthuis

Isabella Favilla recorder
Filippa Meneses violin
Joao Rival harpsichord

Website La Favilla: la Favilla  

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