Utrecht Early Music Festival 2016 part 6: La Vaghezza

The last fringe concert of the day was certainly one totally in tune with the festival’s “Serenissima” or Venetian music theme. However, the mood outside the so-called “Polman’s Huis” was anything but serene. A very long queue had formed very early. It was sheer luck everybody was waiting in the shade, as it must have been one of the hottest summer days. A few men started to complain about needing a cool beer.

Once everybody had filed in, the grumbling did not stop. The chairs were rickety. The space everybody had, was limited. Despite open windows and doors, people fanned themselves during the whole concert.

The heath was impressive – and affected the instruments. One of La Vaghezza’s musicians actually felt the need to excuse the ensemble’s “excessive” tuning in between selected pieces. There was nothing excessive about it. As anybody familiar with early music instruments knows: they are affected by changes in temperature and the weather and may need tuning during concerts.

Thank you, mr Corellli” certainly was a concert totally linked to this year’s Early Music Festiva’s theme. La Vaghezza had selected works either composed by Corelli, or composed to honour him.

The concert started with Corelli’s trio sonata Opus 2 Nr 1. You may not be impressed, but the audience rightly was. This was followed by the quaint and cute “La parnasse, ou Apotheose de Corelli” composed by Couperin. Anastasia Baraviera read out the French explanations of each part of this piece. The whole piece reminded me of a kind of mask, or perhaps an early ballet. I kept expecting Louis XIV to show up and dance – prance – while Ms Baraviera explained to the audience what La Vaghezza would play next from this suite.

With this ode to Corelli and Corelli nicely dispatched to sit next to Apollo, la Vaghezza continued with a piece by Giuseppe Valentini called “La Corelli”. This was followed by Telemann’s sonata “Corellisante” and the concert ended with Corelli’s Ciaconna. In all pieces not composed by Corelli, his influence could clearly be heard – even by untrained ears.

La Vaghezza quite rightly got a long, standing ovation – even before they performed Corelli’s “Ciaconna” again as an encore. It is not just that this ensemble performs their selected music so well. There is real enjoyment and shared fun in their performance, which spills over to the audience. La Vaghezza was a joy to listen to and watch, during their concert.

This concert certainly rounded of a day full of wonderful music. During the festival, music also spills from the town’s high Dom Tower and other churches. The Dom’s 14 bells were chiming Italian music. In the streets of the old town centre, various musicians were “busking” either as soloists or in groups. Music ranged from catching and swinging rhythms to haunting melodies played on a harp. It is this special atmosphere during this festival each year, which ensures that losing snaps taken this day is quickly forgotten when going over the musical memories.

La Vaghezza

  • Marco Crosetto harpsichord
  • Gianluca Geremia lute
  • Anastasia Baraviera cello
  • Victoria Melik violin
  • Mayah Kadish violin

“Thank you Mr Corelli”:

  • Corelli, Triosonata Opus 2 nr 1;
  • Couperin, La Parnasse ou Apotheose de Corelli
  • Valentini, Triosonata Opus 5 nr 7 « La Corelli »
  • G.P. Telemann, Sonata « Corellisante » in B TWV 42 h3
  • Corelli, Giaconna Opus 2 nr 12

Donations towards La Vaghezza’s first recording are welcome. For information on how to donate and information on concerts by La Vaghezza, please visit their website.

Youtube La Vaghezza performing Corelli, earlier in 2016

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