Concert archive

Saturday 30th April 2011 - Countertenor gems with Michael Chance

Norwich Baroque was delighted to welcome back its Patron, Michael Chance, for an evening of countertenor gems in the comfortable and intimate surroundings of the United Reformed Church, Princes street, Norwich. A good audience was treated to a selection excerpts from Purcell`s The Fairy Queen and Dido and Aeneas, Bach`s St Matthew Passion, and Handel`s Messiah and Israel in Egypt. Michael's performance of Erbarme Dich, with the violin obligato beautifully played by Rebecca Livermore, will live on in the memories of many will Biber's Battalia a 10.. for quite different reasons! It was a delight to watch Andrew our bass player take so readily to the role of side drum (courtesy of a piece of paper woven between the strings) and rifleman....
Countertenor Gems
Saturday 29th April 2011
Soloist : Michael Chance - countertenor
Director : Rebecca Livermore

Suite from Abdelezar - Purcell
Purcell Arias and Odes :
- Evening Hymn (from The Fairy Queen)
- Entrance of Night (from The Fairy Queen)
- By Beauteous Softness (from Now does the glorious day appear)
- Crown the altar
Battalia a 10 - Biber
Erbarme Dich (from St Matthew Passion)
Concerto Grosso Op.6 no.8 - Handel
Handel Arias:
- How beautiful are the feet of him (from Messiah)
- Thou shalt bring them in (from Israel in Egypt)
Chacony - Purcell
Don Quixote - Telemann

Eastern Daily Press Review :

I always gain an extra thrill when listening to the countertenor voice, and on Saturday evening a large audience shared that when Norwich Baroque's Patron, Michael Chance, presented some countertenor gems.

Purcell featured high in the programme and the Baroque immediately settled into an immaculate balance in a Suite from Abdelazar which, despite being written for a tragedy, was never mournful.

Michael Chance then displayed his purity of tone in a quartet of Purcell arias, including a joyously performed favourite in the genre, the Evening Hymn from The Fairy Queen. Norwich Baroque then turned to a quite extraordinary composition - von Biber's Battalia a 10 (in this case 14). Battle sounds are not always pleasant, but some of the scenes were particularly descriptive - especially in the presto movements.

Michael Chance then pleadingly sang the aria Erbarme Dich from Bach's St Matthew Passion and a pair of Handel arias, including a more decorated version of How lovely are the feet - but this with rivetting understatement. Purcell's Chacony was gently plaintive and the final Burlesque de Don Quixote Suite, by Telemann, was an orchestral story graphically played.

Michael Drake