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Avison & Herschel; Handel & Vivaldi

Handel Concerto Grosso Op 6/1
Herschel Oboe Concerto in C
Avison Concerto No 12
Vivaldi 4 Concertos from Op 8

The Avison Ensemble/Pavlo Beznosuik - violin soloist and director Frances Norbury - oboe

Old Royal Naval College Chapel, Greenwich, 12 November

Tonight's concert was an inspiring opening to this annual event, the Newcastle-based group sounding particularly well in the supportive acoustic of the sumptuously decorated Chapel. It began with one of the grandest of Handel's concerti grossi for a full ensemble of some 14 players, the (unnamed) leader of the 2nd violins duetting effectively with Pavlo Beznosuik, their tones contrasting effectively.

The group's eponymous composer, born in Newcastle, was represented by one of his concertos based on harpsichord Essercizi of D Scarlatti; they've been recorded by this group and others. The Avison Ensemble has published this year a lavishly illustrated book "The Ingenious Mr Avison", warmly recommended.

Herschel has local significance in Greenwich; his concerto of c.1760 preceded his career as an eminent astronomer who discovered two of Saturn's moons! IHis concerto was a charming, vivacious piece, one's only regret that the excellent baroque oboist Frances Norbury [R] did not return to take a further part in the concert.

The reason for that was that there are four Seasons, and Vivaldi's Four... Beznosuik is exploring some other "fours" which he thinks deserve to become similarly popular, and for the second half he gave us an uninterrupted sequence of another group, starting with La Caccia and finishing tempestuously with La Tempesta de Mare.

A very satisfying concert.

Peter Grahame Woolf