Early Music Festival Utrecht 2015 part 5: the Castello Consort

Fringe: the Castello Consort with a few Italian virtuosi

Still with my head in clouds thanks to a brilliant fringe concert followed by an even more brilliant abfab fringe harpsichord concert, I managed to walk through Utrecht and cross streets without being flattened by cars and bikes. The next fringe was at RASA. This theatre can be found not far from Tivoli-Vredenburg and regularly hosts various musical events, including world music performances.

This time, it was a consort performance with an Italian take. As elsewhere, Italian music had quite an impact on English music. But pieces composed by father and son Scarlatti – once discovered – caused a hype. So a consort ensemble focussing on music by Frescobaldi and Monteverdi, to name just two, fits well in an Early Music Festival focussing on “England my England”.

Last year, there was a clavichord which made a kind of splash? This time, the lid stood open with the foldable part folded back. The audience had a rather morbid view of Titian’s Venus of Urbino – more or less decapitated. There were quite a few sniggers when Matthijs van der Moolen innocently told the public they should imagine themselves being in a beautiful Italian cathedral.

Nahhhh – not with that Venus centre stage! More like a cosy evening of good music at your elderly uncle’s town palace. With lecherous uncle secretly collecting dirty pictures and having forgotten he stuck one on the inside of his harpsichord. Though he might just claim it was a poster of a great work of art.

The bad news was, that the three musicians had had to cut two pieces from their concert. The reason was the acoustics and air in RASA. These caused problems for the early music trombone without modcons, played by mr van der Moolen.

Nevertheless, this was a highly interesting performance. The Castello Consorts started with Frescobaldi’s Canzon nr 2 and Canzon “La Bernardina”from “Canzoni da sonate a una, due, tre et Quattro. These were followed by a Sonata in G of Dominico Gabrielli played solo by Anne-Linde Visser.

Then there followed two pieces, one of which was originally written for organ but Miguel Espinoza had decided to try it on the naughty clavichord. As he quite rightly mentioned: the Spanish influences were accentuated and it worked a treat! The pieces were a Corrente Italiana by Juan Cabanilles which sounded more Spanish than “Italiana” followed by Giovanni Battista Fontana’s Sonata Duodecima. To be quite honest: I would not have minded more of these organ pieces played on the clavichord.

But with two pieces cut from the programme, there was just Claudio Monteverdi’s Laudate Dominum SV 287 left. (For a recording of this piece by the Castello Consort scroll down). Though written for voices, it was perfectly executed by the Castello Consort and it brought a delightful concert to a too early end.

The two pieces cut from the programme were apparently a cantata domino by Adam Jarzebski and a sonata by an anonymous composer from Bohemen. A real shame, but totally defendable choice by the consort.

Castello Consort, 31st August 2015, RASA, Utrecht

Anne-Linde Visser  cello
Matthijs van der Moolen  trombone
Miguel Espinoza  harpsichord and organ

Youtube Castello Consort plays Monteverdi’s Laudate DominumYoutube Official Festival Site with music and videos

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