While browsing the sheet music on offer at a stall of the Early Music market, I noticed the duo again. One was talking to an acquaintance, while the other one was chatting to the stall’s owner. The acquaintance asked after studies and made a remark about the “impressive voice”.
They were having fun. The audience was having fun. What more is needed for an enjoyable concert? The venue was the large concert hall of Tivoli-Vredenburg and its sound-system did not play up. So like last year, the duo Ranganathan – Fernández gave an enjoyable concert.
Still slightly miffed and upset at what happened during the fringe concert of the Danzi Duo, I sauntered to the Pieterskerk again. It had been a very difficult choice this afternoon. Not only had there been the choice between hearing Ignotae Deae’s concert again, or opt for the Danzi Duo’s fringe concert.
I nearly skipped from the Jong Barok’s fringe concert, across Utrecht and its market to Tivoli-Vredenburgh. This is the Early Music Festival’s hub for 10 days. The building contains several concert halls in different sizes. During the lunch hour, its largest hall is used for fringe concerts by musicians who have graduated from “just” fringe to the fabulous fringe group.
Fabulous fringe concert: Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya
If Corde Sonore (see part 5) made me totally happy, my “cloud nine” did not last long. The previous evening, I had listened to an interview on the classical music station which covers the Utrecht Early Music Festival.
The interview was with Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya and what she told during the interview about her background and training greatly impressed me. Her performance of two Scarlatti pieces impressed me even more. So I was really looking forward to hearing her in the “Grote Zaal” of Tivoli-Vredenburg.
At first, I thought it was my seat. I had specifically picked a seat which enabled me to view her hands, technique, playing. But after the concert, I overheard several people talking and later, I bumped into a friend who made the same remarks. The large music hall, with space for over 700 people, is just too large for a harpsichord – it seems. Apparently the lovely, at times etherial sound of this instrument can not be enhanced by sound technicians.
Ms Nepomnyashchaya also performed her selected pieces by Kerll, Bach’s French Suite, a Chaconne by Muffat and another piece by Bach technically perfectly. But in as far as it is possible to lay emotion and feeling into pieces performed on a harpsichord – such interpretations were absent. So technically an outstanding performance, but I have heard better ones.
Her last year’s concert is too long ago for me to remember if I also had the impression that technically things were brilliant, but that the performance could have been more expressive. Ms Nepomnyashchaya has won many prizes and regularly performs, so maybe this impression is purely my own. A more intimate venue would have made her concert truly fabulous.
Early Music Festival Utrecht: Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya, 1st of September 2014, 12:30 Tivoli-Vredenburg, Grote Zaal.
Alexandra Nepomnyashchaya is easy to find on the internet. Hear an excerpt of her playing the harpsichord in a Mozart Sonata.