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Spitalfields Winter Festival 2011

Locatelli Concerto Pastorale in F minor Op.1 No.8 ‘Christmas Concerto’ Giuseppe Baldassare Sammartini Concerto in F major for recorder and strings Graupner Overture in E major GWV 436 Telemann Concerto in E minor for flute, violin and strings, TWV 52: e3 Pisendel Sonata in C minor Geminiani Concerto Grosso in D minor JS Bach Suite No.2 in B minor BWV 1067

European Union Baroque Orchestra
/Alexis Kossenko director and flute/recorder soloist
Zefira Valova concert master and violin soloist

St Leonard's Shoreditch Church 17 December 2011 7.00pm-8.45pm

This was the most inspiring of the several concerts by the EUBO which we have been privileged to review over the years, Blackheath (Roy Goodman) long ago and 2006, (Mortensen). For me this one with Alexis Kossenko was the best baroque concert of the year.

The programme was brilliantly conceived to explore fine baroque composers who have only recently become appreciated for their true worth. It all looked and sounded maginficent in Shoreditch's fine Church.

Alexis Kossenko, new to me, is a multi-skilled young genius whose career will take him where he wills. He conducts expressively and effectively, whether on the podium or whilst doubling as recorder player or flutist. Moreover, he is an exponent of modern flute too!

Few conductors are so compelling to watch, whether by his players or we listeners, but there is no 'showing off' to impress an audience.

Whilst one is used to seeing baroque concerts directed from keyboard or violin by nods of the head and gestures with a violinist's bow, this one must be unique for Alexis really conducts with his whole body when playing his little recorder or baroque flute, and between his spells of virtuosity on either instrument; a rare doubling as their techniques are very different. But nothing is just for show.

There was no mere routine in the experienced group's playing after long months honing their baroque playing credentials in Europe, finally honouring the UK with their final concerts. This in London was a concert for ears and eyes. Each item had its different pleasures. In the Telemann double concerto, it was good to have Zefira Valova's violin featured alongside Kossenko's flute.
Surprisingly, there are no adequate videos of the EUBO on YouTube or on their website? Nor are there any recordings that I've been able to find.

It is imperative that someone gets that together immediately and films/videos their concert at Oxford's St John the Evangelist tonight. They'll never look better!

Peter Grahame Woolf

See *****review in The Telegraph

Spitalfields Music Winter Festival has two more days to run.
Visit spitalfieldsmusic.org.uk

Click for video of Menuet & Badinerie from Bach Suite No.2 in B minor

- - - Alexis Kossenko has recorded the complete CPE Bach flute concertos and Vivaldi flute concertos (with Arte dei Suonatori, Alpha).
Other major CD releases include Rameau Pièces de clavecin en concerts (Alpha), Touchemoulin (Ramée) and Hoffman (Eloquentia) flute concertos.














Handel & Rameau

Handel Passacaglia and Gigue from Radamisto; Concerto grosso Op.6 No.10
Rameau Ballet Suite from Acante et Céphise

European Union Baroque Orchestra/Lars Ulrik Mortensen

Christ Church, Spitalfields
12 December 2006 7.30–8.30pm

This was a nice little concert by the European training orchestra which has helped raised standards of early music performance and made a great impression upon us at Blackheath some years back when it was under Roy Goodman's direction.

This year's EUBO intake is practically all young women in their earlyish twenties and they showed the results of good training in baroque style. Tuning was notably excellent, as was the collective lustrous tone, favoured by the acoustics of Hawksmoor's Christchurch. That had been triumphantly restored, its gleaming white interior now one of the glories of London's ecclesiastical architecture: "It may have taken more than a quarter of a century to complete and needed the largest grant ever given by the Heritage Lottery Fund to a church... now can we fully understand the masterpiece of the man who has a good claim to be Britain's greatest architect, Nicholas Hawksmoor... this meticulously accurate restoration is a revelation." (The Telegraph).

String music by Handel was supported by chamber organ; for fifteen dance pieces by Rameau from a "heroic pastoral" with "more inventive music than its puerile plot deserves" (Grove New Dictionary of Opera), there were a bassoon and oboes at the back (doubling briefly nearly inaudible recorder) and the EUBO's current "charismatic director" Lars Ulrik Mortensen (a fine harpsichordist; see our reviews of his recordings of CPE & JS Bach).

Mortensen sat at the harpsichord, fingering the keyboard occasionally (scarcely to be heard) whilst gesticulating immoderately, which might have helped enliven rehearsals.

The string of dances, pleasing to hear, nevertheless felt incomplete without dance, and left us in mind of the superbly managed dance elements in the RAM's recent student realisation of Rameau's Dardanus.

Mortensen told us that the advantage of a short concert is that you never run out of encores! The audience did not respond to that challenge and everyone departed after his second one, a short piece by Muffat.

Are these events conceived as interludes on the way home after work, or mainly for local residents? Those of us who travelled far and long to Spitalfields through the rush hour vicissitudes could look back upon a brief and pleasant musical oasis in all the London bustle - in our case compromised by an extra unscheduled delay, with transfer to another bus whilst half a dozen burly police dealt with the aftermath of a fight on the upper deck!

It was hard to understand why the eager young players were not allowed to give us more than an hour's music (tickets up to £20)? Another half hour of music, with a singer or virtuoso soloist, would have left us better nourished.

Peter Grahame Woolf