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Molly Killeen's concert review:Rachel Podger/Pamela Thorby/Peter Seymour

Concert at Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York
November 7th 2012 

The recent concert given at the University of York by Pamela Thorby on the recorder, Rachel Podger on violin and Peter Seymour on the harpsichord was very interesting for me. They played selected pieces by Telemann and Bach, sometimes solo and sometimes as a trio, from the 'high Baroque' era (1700-1750). One of the things that struck me the most about the concert was the connection that the performers had. Rachel Podger and Pamela Thorby understood each other and each other's music very well. They both seemed to be able to communicate through not only eye contact, but also through the movement of their bodies and their instruments. They swayed to the music and were able to anticipate each other's parts. Often there were themes and variations happening, which were shown not only through the music but also through their motions, bobbing and swaying towards each other as if passing along the musical ideas. This musical communication occurred within all three parts; however it was strongest between the violin and the recorder. This may have had to do with the fact that they worked together whilst studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, and have known each other for the past 10 years.  

The pieces they played were chosen carefully to contrast and react with the others. For example, Rachel Podger played a piece by Telemann, 'Fantasie for Violin without Bass in F minor', which was slow, although with one quicker section towards the end ('Vivace') and more haunting than Telemann's 'Fantasie III for recorder in D minor' which was faster, with many runs up and down the instrument. It had a slightly lighter feel.  The player mentioned that it was originally written for the flute. Before they played these, they spoke to the audience about the contrast of not only the feel of the pieces but of the key. Pamela Thorby commented on the importance of the key in Baroque music.  

I had never heard a Baroque chamber concert before and I enjoyed it very much. 

(Molly Rose Killeen)