Adding Mediterranean sparkle in Seaton

PUBLISHED: 17:00 22 February 2017 | UPDATED: 09:09 27 February 2017

Galliardia. Picture: Contributed

Galliardia. Picture: Contributed


The preview promised ‘a memorable evening’ with the title ‘Mediterranean Temperament’, and the programme presented by Galliarda in SeatonMusic’s concert on Thursday, February 17, did not disappoint.

The four players, all baroque music enthusiasts, Sara Stowe (soprano), Ibrahim Aziz (viola da gamba) Matthew Spring (lute) and William Summers (flute) fascinated the audience with a range of songs and dances from Spain, Italy and France, some by named composers, some ‘traditional’, some lively, some sad, some witty, some serious.

Unfamiliar music to most ears, but also unfamiliar instruments. As well as sparkling performances in solos, duos, trios and quartets, the audience were given interesting insights into the technique of playing the instruments, to the role of the theorbo (chitarrone) in early opera, the story of the viola da gamba, and the difference between the baroque flute and its modern successor.

Two familiar names appeared – Handel, with his only known Spanish song Cantata Spagnuola, and Henry Purcell, with a ‘mad’ song from the play Don Quixote, both dramatically performed by Sara Stowe, and brilliantly accompanied by the other instruments.

The music was interspersed with amusing readings of notes by a contemporary traveller in Spain, the Reverend Joseph Townsend, who evidently did not find all the music, or the Mediterranean lifestyle that he encountered, to his taste!

SeatonMusic’s next concert is on Thursday, March 16, at 7.30pm in The Gateway, when Syria’s leading young pianist will play works by Scarlatti, Beethoven and the Syrian composer Al Succari.

Peter Dawson

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