Andreas Scholl reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald

Harriet Cunningham
Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2011

PUTTING the music of Purcell and Handel side by side makes for fascinating listening, particularly when it is performed by four of the best exponents of this repertoire.

Purcell is the local boy, born and bred in London. Handel is the international impresario who has travelled Europe learning from German and Italian masters. This Musica Viva program explored the range and colour of both composers with intelligence and style, providing food for the head and the heart.

The ensemble was an international collaboration: the headline act was German counter-tenor Andreas Scholl, whose low-key, inclusive onstage demeanour belies his superstar status in classical music. With him came Israeli-born Tamar Halperin on harpsichord and two Australian artists, Daniel Yeadon and Tommie Andersson.

One of the most interesting solo turns was Andersson’s arrangement of Handel’s Tunes for Clay’s Musical Clock. These delicate little movements held the ear, providing a welcome opportunity to focus on the beautiful tone of the theorbo. Likewise, Yeadon’s performance of a transcription of Purcell’s Since From My Dear Astrea’s Sight allowed the eloquent viola da gamba to shine. Halperin performed suites for harpsichord by Purcell and Handel with quiet efficiency.

As for Scholl, he was most impressive in the Handel repertoire, where he could develop the full operatic scope of his voice. He took Purcell’s Music for a While at a stately, almost static pace, with the kind of breath control that makes one’s eyes water, and reducing the rich flow of his instrument to a finely controlled stream of sound, to balance with the subtle keyboard and viola da gamba. By contrast, Handel’s Vedendo Amor was an extrovert energy shot and Man is for the Woman Made gave us a taste of his hearty baritone and mischievous humour.


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