Fabulous Fringe Concert: Ensemble la Danserye
From a very agreeable first fringe concert, I walked into the modern horror of Tivoli-Vredenburg again (see review 1), for a Fabulous Fringe Concert by ensemble la Danserye. The lunch time fringe concerts no longer take place at the lovely Pandhuis location, next to the Utrecht Dom. These concerts now take place in the Grote Zaal of Tivoli-Vredenburg. This concert hall, the largest in the Tivoli-Vredenburg building, seats over 700 people.
The Fabulous Fringe performers are the crème de la crème of the festival’s fringe. They are either extremely promising young musicians, or have been specifically voted back by the public after outstanding performances during previous festivals.
La Danserye specialises in bringing to life medieval and renaissance woodwind instrument music. Their collection of these instruments is impressive. For their concert they selected Spanish 16th century pieces from a unique manuscript once owned by da Falla.
The ensemble entered the hall playing a piece by Francisco Guerrero, which earned them a warm welcome from the delighted audience. The public was then treated to some very interesting background information concerning facsimile manuscript and music. The audience was also told that anybody interested in the instruments, wanting to know more about the music, or having any questions was welcome to meet group-members after this concert. This is why I adore the festival’s fringe concerts so much. The public is actually invited by young enthusiastic performers to touch instruments, poke a nose into sheet music, question performers, learn more. Try doing all this once musicians become world famous!
La Danserye had subdivided their concert into three parts. The first part focussed on religious music by composers like Francisco Guerrero, Juan de Urrede, Christóbal de Morales, Pedro Guerrero and Rodrigo de Ceballos. The second part on music created and performed in university and aristocratic circles (chansons and madrigals). Here the public was treated to music written by Lupus Hellinck, Thomas Crecquillon, Pierre de Manchicourt, Jacob Clemens non Papa, Orlandus Lassus. The last part consisted of canciones, songs and tunes written down by Francisco Guerrero. Music you might have heard while strolling through streets in Spanish 16th century towns.
The musicians performed perfectly and the audience was totally captivated … when … between an anonymous university tune and one by Jacob Clemens non Papa … someone in the vast Tivoli-Vredenburg building decided to twiddle with a few buttons …
There have been noises in newspapers that the acoustics of Tivoli-Vredenburg are not up to scratch? This certainly does not hold for the alarms and emergency evacuation messages!
The building was evacuated in no time – right in the middle of this performance, while the musicians had been unable to collect their audience’s applause and coins. After five minutes, it became clear this was a false alarm. Later I learned someone had been playing with the wrong button.
During the radio interview with La Danserye, later that evening, the performers and interviewer could joke about “a concert, exciting in more ways than one … “ But at the moment the alarms went off, it was anything but fun.
It says quite something about the ensemble’s ability to captivate an audience with their performance of 16th century music: after things had settled down and the performance could continue – hundreds of people filed back into the Grote Zaal to find another seat, or just hang against pillars and balustrades to hear the end of this fabulous concert.
After this “in several ways very exciting” concert, la Danserye was quite rightly treated to a standing ovation and recalled by an insisting public. The short evening performance for radio, followed by an interview, was of the same high quality. Unfortunately, after skimming the programme, I was unable to find another performance by ensemble la Danserye during this festival. So it is to be hoped they will either return next year for another fabulous fringe concert, or grace the festival’s concert diary.
Utrecht Early Music Festival: fabulous fringe concert Ensemble La Danserye, 30th August 2014, 12:30, Tivoli-Vredenburg, Grote Zaal.
La Danserey consists of:
Fernando Pérez Valera
Juan Alberto Pérez Valera
Luis Alfonso Pérez Valera
Eduardo Pérez Valera
Manuel Quesada Benítez
For the ensemble’s website: La Danserye.