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Jenkins, Purcell, Couperin & Handel

A well-established Society which holds its concerts in the glorious Goldsmiths' Hall, this was a fine event to complete City Music Society's 2009 season (the witty logo enshrines their belief in wine with music !).

London Baroque is touring internationally with Dame Emma Kirkby and this well honed programme would please audiences anywhere. The artists introduced the items from the stage; Steven Devine had brought with him a small harpsichord made by his friend Colin Booth (copy of a Barton of 1720) which was particularly suitable for the evening's music, and he showed it off with a captivating account of the most popular of Handel's Suites, albeit that the final movement's tune was not really that of a whistling blacksmith....

John Jenkins' Fancy showed the excellence of each of the players, individually and in consort, flattered by the acoustics of the hall. Because the group was of just three soloists, one had a particularly good opportunity to appreciate the qualities of baroque violin and bass viol, both in expert hands.

Dame Emma was in fine voice and introduced her items with enthusiasm before performing them with captivating zest; she is in excellent voice, busy as ever throughout her long distinguished career, and gave us as encore a song of Michel Pinolet de Mont├ęclair, whom the group is set to explore early in 2010, presumably with a BIS CD in prospect.

This concert was altogether more satisfactory than Dame Emma's recital in May at St John's Smith Square.

Peter Grahame Woolf

See City Music Society's website and London Baroque's recordings