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The King's Consort - The Royal Trumpet


Rebecca Bottone – soprano

Crispin Steele-Perkins - trumpet


Wigmore Hall

24 February 2006


Handel – Mr Handel's New Water Pieces

Handel – Haec est Regina virginum HWV 235

Purcell – Music for the Royal Birthday

Handel - Coelestis dum spirat aura HWV 231

Handel - D'estero dall' empia (from Amadigi HWV 11)

Eccles – Overture from The Judgement of Paris

Handel – Ah! Che troppo ineguali HWV 230

Clarke – King James's Farewell

Handel – Volate, amori (from Ariodante HWV 33)

Handel – Let the bright seraphim (from Samson HWV 57)



Rebecca Bottone is fast establishing her reputation as a young soprano on the operatic stage, so there was a good deal of interest in hearing her in this Handel programme tackling earlier and quite varied repertoire – three sacred pieces, two operatic, and one from oratorio.


The sacred pieces all dated from 1707, the year of Handel's arrival in Rome - a Lutheran not entirely comfortable in his new surroundings – writing in rather more subdued mode than usual, with long arching melodies, showing off the creamy top of the singer's voice. Coelestis dum spirat aura finishes with a string of restrained but beautifully contrasted alleluias and Ah! Che troppo ineguali is a fervent prayer for peace, delivered with quiet commitment. Both beautifully realised .


Her two operatic arias were also well contrasted, the first in full flight of vengeance, the second an expression of passionate exhilaration. The best was kept until last – the well known and lavishly ornamented Let the bright seraphim, here she really “sang a blinder” and almost brought the house down.


Alternating with these was an absorbing selection of celebratory trumpet music, spanning only a relatively short number of years but encompassing a period of significant musical development. Chronologically first was Jeremiah Clarke, unashamedly tuneful; next Purcell, rather formalised and constrained, Eccles, an interesting and futuristic composer that it would be good to hear more of, and Handel's lively Water Music (which opened the evening).


Crispian Steele-Perkins is the undisputed master of the baroque trumpet who has collected and restored more than a hundred “natural” trumpets; a programme note on the instrument he used for this concert would have been welcome. His playing is always involved and exuberant, and he projected a real enthusiasm for this period.


The playing of the normally excellent King's Consort seemed a little mechanical at times, not quite on a par with their two excellent soloists.


Serena Fenwick