Baroque delights from the Consort of Twelve

A sparkling baroque programme is the promise as The Consort of Twelve offer their Festival of Chichester concert.

As cellist Lynden Cranham says, big orchestral bookends will contrast with moments of great intimacy in a programme which features concertos by Handel, Vivaldi, Telemann and Rameau.

The Consort of Twelve

The Consort of Twelve

The concert takes place on Sunday, June 29 at 7.30pm at the University of Chichester Chapel, with the period ensemble led by Catherine Mackintosh (baroque violin).

“The programme offers a wide variety of musical textures, ranging from the exciting orchestral effects of all the strings and woodwind playing together to the more contemplative solo moments of only one or two instruments playing,” Lynden said.

“And there is another thing that is slightly unusual. Within the wind section, generally the bassoon doubles the bass line of the cellos, but in some of the pieces here it has an independent part. In the orchestra works, there are some very nice pieces for solo bassoon.

“The Rameau, just after the interval, contains some of the incidental music from Glyndebourne’s 2013 production of Hippolyte e Aricie. Dance was always an integral part of French baroque opera, and Rameau adopted that tradition which was established by his predecessor Lully to have five acts in his operas. Part of the tradition was to have dance at the end of each of the acts and sometimes during each act, and these dances might or might not be connected with the opera plot.

“We have also got a Concerto Grosso by Handel, and that one is a little bit different, too. Normally in a Handel Concerto Grosso, you have a solo group of perhaps two or three players that are playing within the orchestra and then emerge as soloists and then go back into the orchestra texture. In this, you don’t have that. You have lots of virtuosi passages for wind and strings coming through.”

Lynden is delighted to be the cello soloist with leader Catherine (violin) for Vivaldi’s Concerto for violin and cello.

“Cat was associated with the Consort and its founding in the 1980s. We are especially lucky that she is playing with us now. The lovely thing for me is she and I have played together for years in things like the Academy of Ancient Music and the Orchestra of the Age of the Enlightenment.

“In this concert, we are doing this lovely concerto by Vivaldi. We have played together for years, but it is the first time we have done a concerto together.”

For Lynden, the Consort has always been a delight to work with.

“Our youngest child was a chorister in Chichester. He was learning the cello with (Consort co-founder) Jean Graham-Jones. We were living in America at the time, and they knew I was a baroque cellist. The Consort started asking me to play with them when I was available. I was often in the UK touring with the Academy of Ancient Music, and when it coincided, wherever possible I started playing concerts with them.

“I think people just love to hear baroque music. There is a lightness to the music. You are using period instruments, and there is a lightness and a vitality to it. With larger ensembles, the wind and the strings can become homogenised. But with baroque music, they remain much more distinct.”

Tickets £14, plus concessions.