Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Gig-a-Blog™ (The Vaghoten Band, St Anne & St Agnes)

Monday, 21 January 2008

“Aux Armes, Citoyens!” The Vaghoten Band. Jane Booth & Louise Strickland, clarinets; Joe Walters & David Ransom, horns; Peter Whelan & Robert Percival, bassoons. Works by F J Gossec, de l'Isle and (arr.) Lussier.

A wonderful programme of revolutionary music with excellent, characterful sounds. Perhaps less smooth and homogeneous than the equivalent modern ensemble: bits of edge in the tone which add texture and interest. I'm thinking especially of the bassoons whose tone I felt had a distinct "wake up" quality compared to the modern instrument.

Similarly, there was a distinct difference in the clarinet tone, though I'm not sure I can specify for you what it was. Maybe that it was a little more direct and less rich? Definitely a bit of a tonal spectrum shift compared to the modern instrument but I fear I can't nail it down for you any better than that so you'd better try to hear this excellent ensemble and form your own view.

Fabulous horns. Mellow, brassy and downright fiery by turns. Nice one.

  • First two pieces quite jolly and cheerful
  • Third piece: excellent horn call thing
  • Some music a bit more solemn e.g. (perhaps) O salutaris (aargh help I'm lost in the programme) - well that was very nice, whatever it was.
  • Oops - it's too easy (for me) to lose track of one's location in the programme. There's not enough help from the printed programme nor the performers, though their occasional stage chat was very good and I'd have liked more.

Unusual show, great sounds, makes a fascinating and refreshing change. I left feeling distinctly inclined to go and storm the Bastille.

Update: I'm shocked that I was so unobservant (too busy ogling the horns?) but Martin told me that the fabulous bassoon sound which so excited me was, at times, being generated by a Baroque contra! Imagine - I didn't even know there was such a thing. It certainly explains the, er, deep (aha) impression they made on me, but I wish I'd seen it too. Next time I will not miss it!

No comments: