Wesley Uniting Church, March 25.
Reviewed by Len Power
Newly formed Canberran Early Music ensemble, Apeiron Baroque, performed “Trios For Four”, the first of four concerts for 2023. Apeiron Baroque, named after a Greek word normally meaning “infinite”, is also equated with evenness, plurality, motion and even their apparent opposite, badness.
John Ma, (violin/viola/d'amore), and Marie Searles, (fortepiano/harpsichord) were joined for this concert by two Canberran specialists, Lauren Davis (violin) and Clara Teniswood (cello).
Their concert of nine works spanned the entire breadth of the Baroque era. Amongst the composers represented, there were works by the lesser known composers, Marco Uccellini, Andrea Falconeri, Isabella Leonarda and works by the well-known Georg Philipp Telemann, Johan Sebastian Bach and Georg Frideric Handel.
John Ma gave entertaining introductions to the works throughout the concert, presenting facts of interest about their lives and works, often with humorous anecdotes in his friendly, relaxed style.
Handel’s Trio Sonata in B Flat with its nicely reflective second movement was sensitively played and Falconeri’s “La Suave Melodia” was a melodic highlight, played by John Ma on violin and Clara Teniswood on cello.
Isabella Leonarda’s Trio Sonata Prima was another melodic work, beautifully played. John Ma explained that Leonarda, who spent most of her life in a convent, was one of the most prolific composers of the baroque era and a rare female composer from that time.
Ma then played Telemann’s First Fantasia in B Flat for Solo Violin, a highly appealing work, which he performed very well. “Sonata Representativa” by Heinrich Biber was nicely lyrical and punctuated, surprisingly, with imitations of various birds and animals such as the nightingale, frog, cuckoo, cat and rooster, amongst others.
A bright and busy work by Nicola Matteis, “Ground After The Scotch Humour”, was then energetically and finely played, bringing this very interesting and enjoyable concert to a close.
Photo by Hayley Manning
This review was first published by Canberra CityNews digital edition on 26 March.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.