S&H Concert review

17th Century English Music Charivari Agréable Purcell Room, London 14 May 2001

A day of (mainly) English music at South Bank Centre was completed with a delectable concert of solo and duo 'divisions', based upon Christopher Simpson's Division-Violist published in 1659. Susanne Heinrich & Susanna Pell (treble and bass viols) were supported by a varied continuo by Lynda Sayce (baroque guitar and English theorbo) and by Kah-Ming Ng (chamber organ & virginals). Susanna Pell and Lynda Sayce had taken part in the earlier Elizabethan Masque study day in the same building. The emphasis was upon virtuosic variations upon simple phrases or grounds. The composers represented (in birth order) being Hume, Tomkins, Jenkins, Lawes, Christopher Simpson, Locke, Purcell and Finger (who lived on into the 18 C.).

The sound of all these instruments was indeed 'agreeable', indeed ravishingly beautiful, and it was enhanced by the resonance of the Purcell Room's wooden walls (the stage curtains pulled right back) and the visual pleasure of watching the exchanges between the two virtuoso violists Susanne Heinrich & Susanna Pell. Their programme Two upon a Ground is available on Signum CD007, which can be recommended with confidence.
Peter Grahame Woolf

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