I was back at Shoreditch Church (above) again yesterday evening for another concert part of Spitalfields Music's Winter Festival - a really wonderful evening of high class and fascinating music, splendidly played and sung. Lawrence Zazzo was the singer, and La Nuova Musica directed by David Bates were the players.
London is a mecca for pre-classical music superbly played. And it has been thus for many years going back to David Munrow and the early days of the Academy of Ancient Music, and indeed further back than that. There is constant renewal - for example, as the Hilliard (who were in the same church on Wednesday) leave the scene then Stile Antico takes over. And here we had a newish ensemble which is clearly destined soon to take a position at the highest international level.
The programme was of music of the 1720s in London, music of Handel, Bononcini and Ariosti - with Corelli's Christmas concerto grosso, split in two parts to provide respite for the superb Lawrence Zazzo who gave us a panorama of music mostly written for Senesino. Zazzo was in spectacular form with singing of ravishing beauty in Bononcini's tear inducing Per la gloria d'adorarvi from Griselda, of imperious majesty in Julius Caesar's Va tacito, and superlative energy and virtuosity in Vivi tiranno from Handel's Rodelinda.
And David Bates' players matched him note for note, literally so with the astonishing playing of the horn obligato by Nuova Musica's unnamed horn player. It would be good if anyone reading this, and knows the answer, could tell us who it was!
So it was a great and revelatory evening of music making. David Bates has all the ingredients to make him a hot shot for the next generation. He is going a long way.
PS - we have established that the horn soloist was the remarkable Alex Frank-Gemmill. Thank you to Johannes Pramsohler for this information!!