TYPICAL contrary Camerata. Their Christmas concert is decidedly light on Ding Dong Merrily on Highs and other jolly musical baubles and yet it gets it just right. Thanks to some inspired programming that paired Bach and Corelli with a sprinkling of traditional carols.
The final movement, Allegro-Pastorale-Largo, is based upon a traditional tune that Italian farmers still sing at Yuletide.
The Norwegian trumpet champion Tine Thing Helseth had, I admit, passed me by, before her appearance with the orchestra at the Albert Hall. It’s not a name you’ll forget in a hurry and the same goes for her playing.
The 26-year-old capped a stirring contribution to the instrumental carols, in particular In The Bleak Midwinter, with a solo encore of a plaintive Norwegian seasonal equivalent, but it was in JS Bach’s Concerto in D Minor (after Vivaldi) that she took the concert by storm. Originally for harpsichord, its translation into a virtuoso trumpet piece is inspired, both in the intricate, rousing Allegro and before that in the sublime Larghetto where Tine’s floating tone captivated. A major talent.
Elsewhere, permanent guest conductor Nicholas Kraemer coaxed a delicate precision out of a reduced string ensemble in the third and sixth Brandenburgs and finally a trove of festive gaiety in the Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli, Bach’s great precursor. The final movement, Allegro-Pastorale-Largo, is based upon a traditional tune that Italian farmers still sing at Yuletide. A sense of wonder filled the Hall, once a church, transforming it into one huge sonorous crib. Merry Christmas.
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