Last night the Adderbury Ensemble inaugurated their autumn series at the Sheldonian with a sparkling Baroque programme. They were led by David Lepage (solo violin / director). David Gordon was, apparently effortlessly, at the harpsichord. The Ensemble will be familiar to locals, but if you are new to Oxford do take time to visit their website: http://www.coffeeconcerts.co.uk/adderbury-ensemble.
Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto was followed by Brandenburg 5 with its extraordinary virtuoso harpsichord part. We held our breath as they began: was this going to be one of those race-throughs so popular these days where you can’t hear half the notes? But no. It was a brisk pace but entirely musical and a delight to listen to.
For the second half they played Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ Not again, I hear you yawn. Ah, but – this is the Four Seasons Adderbury style. You may think you know the ‘Four Seasons’ backwards, but until you have heard these people play it you probably have not heard it all. I first heard them perform it in the 1990s and have never forgotten that. Here was the same approach even more brilliant and atmospheric. Close your eyes and you could see the birds, the fields, the icicles, the wind or the glaring sun. Though actually closing your eyes would be a bit of a shame because it is such fun to watch them enjoying playing it.
The series continues on Thursday nights every three weeks or so and there are some treats in store. The next one will be on 13 October, again with David Lepage and will include Elgar’s Serenade for Strings, Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending and Schubert’s Fifth Symphony.
If you can’t make Thursdays there is an opportunity to catch them - and other marvellous performers - at the Sunday morning Coffee Concerts at the Holywell.