Andreas Scholl reviewed in the Manly Daily
Andreas Scholl sings Purcell and Handel
15 March 2011
At a recent concert a German woman sitting next to me said she couldn’t understand the way we in Australia spell the composer Handel’s name.
“In Germany where he comes from it is Haendel, or with the umlaut,” she said.
I explained it might be because he spent most of his working life in London as court composer to the Hanoverian King George I and his name had become anglicised.
“In Britain they consider him half-English,” I said. She laughed but was clearly disturbed by this information.
Handel also spent time in Italy where he learnt about operas, gave keyboard recitals and most weeks composed cantatas for a group of musical colleagues in Rome under the patronage of Cardinal Pamphili.
Two of these works made up the second half of German counter tenor Andreas Scholl’s concert with his partner, keyboardist Tamar Halperin, and local talent Daniel Yeadon (viola da gamba, baroque cello) and Tommie Andersen (theorbo, baroque guitar).
Lovely though these pieces about cupids and shepherdesses in Arcadia were, by far the more interesting music came in the first half with works by that great, fully English, composer Henry Purcell. This material gave Scholl a much wider emotional range to exploit.
This is Scholl’s third tour for Musica Viva and each one has been very different. In 2003 it was Handel and Vivaldi with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, followed three years later by a mixture of John Dowland pieces and English folksongs with lutenist Crawford Young.
Scholl always likes to surprise and for his latest tour it was the inclusion of Purcell’s great soprano solo Dido’s Lament.
This was the first time many of the audience had heard it sung by a man, but given that Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet was originally performed by two male actors it does have historical authenticity on its side.
That Scholl was truly believable, especially with the doleful pleas “Remember me, remember me”, was testament to his beautiful voice and keenly-developed thespian skills.
But it wasn’t all sadness and cupid’s shafts, there were some lighter moments too including audience participation and – I think – a first public hearing of Scholl as a conventional tenor in Man is for a Woman Made.
Israeli-born Halperin, Scholl’s partner, played some delicious harpsichord solos, including Purcell’s Round-O which Benjamin Britten worked into his Young Person’s Guide To The Orchestra.
Yeadon’s viola da gamba featured spectacularly at times and Anderssen’s arch-lute charmed listeners with a set of tunes Handel composed for musical clocks.
This delightful concert is repeated at 7pm on Monday, March 21, at the City Recital Hall.