what a joyful concert! [RNS 11th Nov 17]

What a joyful concert from the RNS, when they presented 5 out of Bach’s 6 Brandenburg Concertos.

Sprightly dance rhythms, thrilling high solo trumpet flourishes, poignant song-like slow movements, nail-biting virtuoso semiquaver runs from the solo harpsichord and violin, and embellished where necessary with historically appropriate and expressive ornamentation.

Without a conductor, these wonderful musicians displayed a conviction and unity of ensemble that kept us on the edge of our seats. Their feeling of family intimacy had already been in evidence at the pre-concert talk, when three of them, in question-and-answer repartee, had pointed out some of the musical issues which they were looking forward to displaying for us during the performance.

And in case we would find 2 hours of Bach a little hard to digest, they interspersed the 5 concertos with 2 works by Gorecki. With classical simplicity of texture though with modern asperity of harmony, these served to refresh the ear and clear the way for the next serving of Bach. An inspired bit of programme planning.