Music for Good Friday!
Couperin imbues the music with a lightness of touch
By far the most intriguing work in the Sydney Consort Good Friday program was the short Francois Couperin motet style Troisième Leçon à deux voix for 2 sopranos and continuo. Even though the text and the subject matter are gloomy Couperin imbues the music with a lightness of touch.
Perfectly matched musicians
St Augustine’s is a perfect place for sopranos to let float a liquid line of bell-like notes. The acoustic makes the faster music a little blurry but it is ever so sweet. Sopranos Belinda Montgomery and Anna Fraser were beautifully matched by the impeccable harpsichordist Monika Kornel and the sensitive playing of cellist Teije Hylkema.
Stan Kornel is one of the most interesting musicians in Sydney
The main work by duration was a rarity, a Stabat Mater by the obscure Girolamo Abos (1715 – 1760). There were many composers in the baroque period just as there were many painters and the church gave them gainful occupation. And even though it was an act of serious research by the Sydney Consort to present this work I doubt there will be much call to hear further of his output. There is nothing wrong with the music of Abos. Simply, there are so many better works by the masters of the period.
Indeed, when it started I thought I was listening to a strange re-write of Pergolesi’s famous Stabat Mater so similar were many of the gestures and attitudes in the music. The sopranos were joined by alto Hannah Fraser and there was much fine singing from the trio of voices. The ensemble was admirably led by that stalwart of the Sydney baroque movement Stan Kornel, simply one of the most interesting musicians in Sydney.
The right mix of devotion and enjoyment
On a wet Good Friday night more than a 100 people attended this concert and they showed their collective appreciation and enthusiasm for the music and the performers. Just the right mix of devotion and of enjoyment.
The Sydney Consort: Stabat Mater | St Augustine’s, Balmain | 3 April 2015.