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Catherine the Great Orchestra

Andrey Reshetin (baroque violin, artistic director)
Maria Krestinskaya (baroque violin)
Yurii Minenko (countertenor)
Alexandre Listratov (baroque cello)
Tatiana Zenaishvili (harpsichord)

Wigmore Hall 19 Feb 2006


Anton Ferdinand Titz: Quintet in D minor for 2 violins 2 violas and cello
Francesco Araja: Tsefal's aria from 'Tsefal i Prokris'
Johann Christian Bach: Concerto in F minor for harpsichord and strings
Ivan Khandoshkin: Sonata in E minor for 2 violins
Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach: Concerto in A minor for cello and strings
George Friderick Handel: Sesto's aria from 'Giulio Cesare in Egitto'
Johann Sebastian Bach: Erbarme dich mein Gott from 'St Matthew Passion' BWV. 244

London's Russian ex-pats turned up in force to support their confrères from St Peterburg, whose mission has been to restore Russian music of the 18 C to its rightful place as part of 'a single cultural space' with Europe of the time. They introduced agreeable chamber music by composers unknown to us, and proved to be a stylish baroque group fielding accomplished soloists. None of the Russian pieces was characterful enough to impose the composers' names as ones to remember to seek out again.

The small baroque orchestra goes for tonal blend over the assertive, energetic virtuosity with which some groups seek to impress, and their sound in Wigmore Hall made for a happy experience. CPE Bach's cello concerto brought some welcome more jagged rhythmic contrasts but the effect palled with repetition and the whole was perhaps overlong. JC's concerto was small beer.

The concert was memorable mostly for the unassertive and elegant manner in which Andrey Reshetin steered the proceedings benignly from his violin, and for the introduction to London of a thoroughly accomplished prize-winning singer. Yurii Minenko, a mellifluous
counter tenor, fitted in well with the group's prevailing style, negotiating Handel's decorations easily within the melodies, without over-emphasising his skills. JSB's Erbarme dich out of context was duly moving. With a pleasing appearance and dignified platform manner, he will surely be seen and heard on the international opera circuit before long.


© Peter Grahame Woolf