Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Gig-a-Blog™ (Mayda Narvey, St Anne & St Agnes)

Monday, 29 October 2007

Mayda Narvey, cello. Marin Marais: La Folia; J S Bach: movements from Suite No 5 in C minor for cello; Walton: Passacaglia; Britten: Suite No 3; Luis de Narvaez: Guardomo los Vacos.

Marin Marais was a very accomplished gamba player working at the court of Louis XIV, Mayda Narvey tells us. La Folia is a set of variations on a popular tune, Les ? d'Espagne, where "?" represents a word I didn't catch. Come to think of it the "d'Espagne" isn't that certain either. The good news, though, is I'm pretty goshdarned sure about "Les". Phew, eh? Anyway, it was very pretty.

Before the Bach 5th Suite Narvey explained a bit about how the fugue worked, principally that the fugal effect was invoked in the clever writing, rather than spelled out in double-stopping as you might expect. Whatever - the Bach was great. She has a lovely church-filling sound. I especially liked the Sarabande, where I've scrawled "beautiful, flowing, amazing quiet control" so there you go.

The Walton was brief, brilliant and complex. I wish she had played it twice, as she told us Rostropovitch did at its world premiere! I felt I needed to know the passacaglia tune to follow it a bit better.

The Britten has a wonderfully mysterious start, and is yet more complex than the Walton, so I do feel seriously short of signposts. Actually, neither of these pieces is a perfect choice for a single performance to a higgerant audience, to wit: me. When I am at a concert like this I so wish I had the score sometimes! I think this partly reflects that I am rubbish listening to music so I need help. I am going to compensate for this, I think, by getting CDs of these works. Then maybe I can overcompensate and get the music too. (If challenged I can always claim it's for Martha.)

The programme has Britten's dates as 1685-1750. That's a bit scary actually as I remember I was in my first year of university when he died, which makes me around 276. As of right now I honestly don't feel a day over 200!

Great programme but a bit long if you have a job and are trying to pace your lunchtime time-consumption a bit! However if I were not working I would say more more more please. Mayda Narvey really is a very fine player and this recital was a great pleasure to hear.

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