Feeling the Cold: lunchtime with Vivaldi and Purcell

The University Camerata and Cecilian Choir teamed up for yesterday’s final lunchtime concert of the term, with Vivaldi’s Winter and Purcell’s ‘Frost Scene’ from King Arthur.

University Camerata with Jeremy Ovenden

Soloist in the Vivaldi, Jeremy Ovenden brought out the brittle, biting aspect of the piece in a strong, confident reading, and the Camerata responded with suitable fragility in the sul ponticello passages.

Making her debut at the Gulbenkian, Music Scholar Paris Noble cast a bright flame as Cupid, scolding the Cold Genius (a welcome return for alumnus Piran Legg) and bringing on a chorus of Cold Revellers to warm them up and spread love throughout the arctic countryside.

In rehearsal: Piran Legg (bass), Paris Noble (soprano) with the Camerata and Cecilian Choir

The Cecilian Choir, looking suitably chilly in winter hats and coats (there had been a fire-alarm that morning, so the musicians ended up waiting outside the Theatre for a while – true method-acting, as one of the altos wryly observed), shambled on before casting aside their winter attire for a heroic closing chorus.

Pictured also is the fine harpischord brought in for the concert (Christmas truly came early for me this year), a Ruckers-Hemsch copy by Ian Tucker, based on an instrument from 1763, which had a soundboard decorated identically to one owned by Handel. Many thanks to Edmund Pickering for delivering and tuning the instrument.

Tucker, after Ruckers-Hemsch

Bravo to all involved: a concert to ‘warm’ the heart…

(Photos: Chris Gray.)

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