Nicola Benedetti, Armonico Consort
St Mary’s, Warwick
IT’S hard to imagine St Mary’s ever being fuller than it was for this generous programme of baroque offerings. But such is the pulling power of one of the classical music world’s brightest shining superstars. And what the church may have lacked in super-crisp acoustics, it more that made up for in warmth and atmosphere.
And the star we’d all come to see certainly did not disappoint. Nicola Benedetti has a way of both enjoying the music and communicating that she’s enjoying it that can’t help but win you over. She worked perfectly with the consort throughout, but when the music offered the opportunity to show the unique talent she has, it was fully taken. The cadenza in the closing Mozart concerto and the whole of that piece’s second movement were simply superb.
Baroque music can occasionally fall foul of being presented almost as a soothing backdrop to something else. Not so here. Armonico, under Christopher Monks, pull out all the subtleties and the drama from Vivaldi’s always surprising music. This was a concert to inspire a love of baroque not just to confirm it.
The Consort are back in Warwick next month at the Castle with a slightly broader fistful of baroque joined this time not by a star of the musical world but by wine expert and broadcaster Oz Clarke (see www.armonico.org.uk). St Mary’s re-starts its own highliy entertaining series of lunchtime organ recitals towards the end of May (www.stmaryswarwick.org.uk).