The first day full of fringe concerts started with a quick visit to the fringe desk to obtain obligatory but free tickets to concerts taking place in small venues. Such limited tickets are only available during the morning.The ticket desks open at 09:00. So people living furthest away from Utrecht run the highest risk to find the fringe concerts of their choice sold out.
This time, I was lucky and had time to spare a look at a wall full of replicas of Venetian paintings. The reason you are not going to see any of these nor of photos taken of various locations, fringe musicians, scenic old Utrecht and more is, that the pictures were wiped off the computer when I transferred their folder to another one. You may mope. My language was unprintable.
So: no snap of the interior of Utrecht’s Pieterskerk nor of the Jong Barok ensemble. The church itself is worth a visit with its remnants of old frescoes. Unfortunately, its tiny garden full of biblical herbs, flowers, plants and shrubs was closed to visitors. But then, we were all supposed to be there for the music.
Jong Barok (which translates into young baroque) consist of four members. They performed trio sonatas by Händel, Telemann, Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, and Purcell. As with the opening concert of this festival, it was difficult to decide which sonata pleased most. The whole concert went from excellent to brilliant.
Though Alexander de Bie played on a chest organ I suspect, for I was at the back of the church, the organ nor the viola da gamba played by Stefan Woudenberg disturbed the harmonious sound of the ensemble as a whole. Someone I spoke to later, pointed out the Pieterskerk has a wonderful acoustic, but it was not simply this. The sounds of the four instruments, two recorders, the organ and the viola da gamba simply blended into something sweet and wonderful.
The only thing which was noticeable but never disturbed: the ensemble’s members were especially bubbly and brilliant in the vivace and allegro parts. This certainly does not mean they “underperformed” in the more tranquil, introspective, grave, largo parts. The rendering of the “Dido” part of Telemann’s trio sonata, where the musicians had to switch from triste to disperato back to triste and disperato again, certainly illustrated they are able to interpret mood-swings and madness. It was just that the gladness of the faster pieces brought out the very, very best.
As for the selected pieces, there were two intriguing sonatas. There was the one mentioned above. It was actually the second Telemann sonata the Jong Barok played. The moods Telemann called after well-known heroines like Xantippe, Lucretia, Corinna, Clelia and Dido seemed pre-impressionistic; capturing moods.
The second piece which intrigued was the trio sonata by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier. This had to do with my unfamiliarity with the man’s work and the fact that Jong Barok played the Preludio Grava extremely enchanting.
The Jong Barok received a standing ovation. Too bad so many of the public left before the encore. Nevertheless: an excellent start of the fringe concerts. Some days and time-slots offer at least four concurrent fringe concerts to choose from and several time slots do coincide with the daytime concerts by famous musicians, the artists in residence, workshops and much more. So even while focussing on fringe concerts, it is undoable to attend them all. Nevertheless: the Jong Barok had been an excellent choice..
The Jong Barok Ensemble
- Jasperina Verheij recorder
- Eline Fung Fen Chung recorder
- Stefan Woudenberg viola da gamba
- Alexander de Bie organ
G.F. Händel Triosonata F HWV 405
G.P. Teleman Triosonata F TWV 42 F7
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier Triosonata in G
G.P. Telemann Triosonata in C TWV 42 C1
D. Purcell Sonata nr 2 in G