Early Music Festival Utrecht 2015 part 8: Bach and Pisendel

Fringe: Shirley, Resche and van der Wel on Bach and Pisendel

The Mirliton Theatre is one of those small Dutch theatres with a rich past, which are under threat of closure due to governmental cuts of over 70% in the budget for culture. It seems it has a rich past with well-known cabaretiers and stand-up comedians performing there. Like another, even smaller theatre (Branouil in The Hague), it now regularly hosts musical events. The first fringe concert I had selected to attend on Tuesday the 1st of September, took place in Mirliton.

Another set of graces were going to perform music by Johann Sebastian Bach and Johann Georg Pisendel. Like others in the public, I was unfamiliar with but highly interested in Pisendel’s music. We were going to be sadly disappointed by the trio consisting of ms van der Wel, ms Shirley and ms Resche.

Before their concert started, one of the Early Music Festival volunteers announced the program had been altered. Probably not for the reasons that the program of the Castello Consort had been changed the day before. This time it was probably the length of all the selected pieces and the time available for fringe concerts. Regardless, a few people who had specifically come to hear Pisendel’s music being played, left in the middle of the performance – causing quite some disturbance.

The concert started according to plan with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Sonata in E BWV 1023. It was followed by Johann Georg Pisendel’s Sonata in C BWV 1024. This sonata was cut short. It was followed by more Bach; the Allemande from his Suite nr 3 in C BWV 1009 and his Sonata in G BWV 1021.

From Pisendel’s part in this concert, the Sonata in A was completely scratched. The Vivace from his Sonata in C BWV 1024 was also discarded.

As for the performance: it was of the usual high level and quality one has now come to expect of partaking fringe musicians. The music was excellently performed and it was truly a delight to hear music played at a decent tempo. These days, there are plenty musicians who feel they must rush a piece into as short a time as possible.

One only has to compare recordings of say about ten years ago to what is now crammed in a time slot on classical radio by some violinists. As if the listener will not notice this. There is something to say for specialists who remark that the tempo at which music is played since before Mozart right up to our time has increased in speed and that classical pieces were played at a much slower pace.

No, like many musicians, this trio played in a refreshingly decent tempo. The solo parts were executed perfectly. No idea why some in the public deemed it necessary to stand up and leave in the middle of this perfectly beautiful concert.

The only small disappointment was, that there could have been slightly more “stage presence”. None of the ladies gave an introduction or explanation about the selected and performed pieces, the composers, the instruments, the link to say the festival’s theme “England my England”. There could have been no greater contrast between this fringe concert and the one of the day before, in which the three graces not only played delightful music in a delicious manner, but also shared their knowledge with their public.(See Early Music Festival 2015, part 3.)

Shirley, Resche and Van der Wel, Mirliton Theatre, Hoog Catherijne, Utrecht, 1st of September 2015
Annabeth Shirley          cello
Gabrielle Resche          harpsichord
Elise van der Wel          violin

Unfortunately, this ensemble seems not yet to have no website nor Youtube “presence”.
Youtube Official Early Music Festival website with videos and music

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