Returning to Bromsgrovc Concerts with a brilliantly-constructed recital, he began with the allimportant "Bernstein moment" (catching the only instant when a performance can be launched) before he embarked upon an eloquent, crisp and totally engaging account of Bach's Italian Concerto, gleefully relishing its finger-twisting part-writing
, and rapt in the darkly emotional andante.
Not only is North effortlessly equal to the technical challenges in this formidable music, but he is playing a superb instrument (made by Thomas Neitzert) whose evenness of tone is such that Bach's part-writing
is clearer than I have heard before.
This was much too swift for any detail of the part-writing
and musical argument to tell, and it was not until the adagio sostenuto, perhaps the deliberate focus of Kempf's thrust, that we were allowed to settle into any genuine appreciation of artistic values.
Haydn's famous Nelson Mass had an equally lively choral response, harmonies full and rich where necessary, individual lines sturdily conveyed in the composer's rigorous part-writing
According to the auction house "...it is a vivacious two-part invention for flute and violin, recalling JS Bach in the rich harmonic implications and rhythmic freedom of the part-writing
A surprisingly imprecise beat from conductor Massimo Zanetti resulted in woolly attack and ensemble from a depressed-sounding CBSO, each event in this vivid score following each other with little sense of drama, and Tchaikovsky's fastidious part-writing
emerging as noisy and unbalanced.
The Junge Kantorei also pulls its weight and is impressive in the large-scale, resolute choruses, rather less so when the part-writing
is more complex.
Attractive playing from the Gaudier Ensemble (standard string quartet plus double bass) is largely responsible, the chamber format establishing a vibrant, inviting sound world which delivers awareness of part-writing
, tone colour and shades of expression more vividly than is often the case from more familiar orchestral-scale accompaniments.
Nicholas Unwin's light touch (especially at the top of the piano, which Damase uses a lot), good balance between the hands, and decisive but unforced articulation flatters the composer's bright part-writing
, but he also charges the ballad-like melodies with just the right degree of warmth and weight, and defines the livelier rhythms with insouciant accuracy.
Solos are always constructed against formal part-writing
which means there is little room for indulgence or what Steely Dan once disparagingly referred to as 'religious saxophoning'.
It also illustrated the capacity of the medieval mind for invention, and some of the works, notably the complex three-part motet Ave parens and the robust conductus Vetus abit literra, with its thrilling harmonies, are masterpieces of sophisticated part-writing
, by any standards.
was clearly defined, moving positively towards a climax of powerful unison prepared by basses which made the earth tremble.