I never knew St Luke’s Mosman was such a wonderful space to be in with its minimal modern architecture and simple blue and gold semi circular chancel at the end.
The women of Thoroughbass presented “Men of Moment” at St Luke’s and on a wet and stormy Sunday afternoon it was an ideal place to be. The acoustics are just gorgeous – perfect for an early music trio and two female voices. The program of Handel, Arne and Bach lifted through the space and gave the musicians a generous space to really express the details of the music. Catherine Upex’s cello and Diana Weston’s harpsichord provided a strong support for recorder and voice.
The program notes by Diana Weston were extensive, and gave lots of useful background information on each piece. Handel’s Sonata in C major for recorder, cello and harpsichord set the tone of the concert – I loved Joanne Arnott’s beautiful expressive recorder playing – a real sense of wonder. As Diana wrote, “fortunately for us we have with us a recorder player who can overcome any expressive and pitch difficulties Bach can throw at her.” She certainly did that.
Alice Girle gave a spirited and heartfelt rendition of a lovely Thomas Arne cantata about the story of Cymon and Iphigenia and the power and purity of love’s “sacred fire” transformed a clumsy clown into a handsome young man. Alice’s voice provided a contrast to Sophia Mitchell’s deep mezzo-soprano, with her rendition of Bach’s haunting “Betörte Welt” and Handel’s tale of jealous love “Udite Il mio consiglio”. More insightful information from Diana about the over 100 cantatas Handel wrote in this Italian period, which he drew from later on. And so drifted the two familiar melodies from his Messiah “His Yoke is easy” and “And he shall purify” when the two voices joined for “Quel fio all’alba ride”. The next St Luke’s concert with Thoroughbass is on 9 November at 3pm – Tout Francaise.