Classical Review: Barrocada Jerusalem Khan, January 15

Thomas Tomkins’ “When David heard that Absalom was slain” sounded like a moving lament, yet without sentimentality.

By URY EPPSTEIN
January 23, 2012 22:04
AN INTIMATE familial feel, with friends and family members together on the stage.

concert311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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The main hero in the Barrocada’s program this week was the Shahar Choir, conducted by Gila Brill. Though small, this choir produces a full, rich sound with soft, relaxed, never strained or shouting voices. Articulation is clear-cut, creating impressive contrasts, subtle dynamic nuances and meticulous transparency, even in intricate contrapuntal textures.

Thomas Tomkins’ “When David heard that Absalom was slain” sounded like a moving lament, yet without sentimentality – a veritable case of British musical understatement. Handel’s rarely performed Chandos Anthems were a real musical offering for the audience.

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In Barechu by Salomone Rossi, an Italian Jewish Late Renaissance composer of Psalms and Prayers to Hebrew texts, Yeela Avital’s pure, clear soprano proved that the female voice can indeed sing the glory of God, and evoke religious sentiments even in secular listeners. Tarquinio Merula’s Cantate Jubilate provided her with a welcome chance to display well-polished coloraturas, heralding the coming of opera. Lior Aharony’s tenor blended in appealingly with the soprano in Handel’s duet passages.

The Barrocada, a small ensemble of period instruments, produces a well-consolidated, intimate sound such as presumably may have been heard in the salons of the Baroque aristocracy.

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