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Rachel Podger concert with Norwich Baroque at Norwich Cathedral, September 15th 2018

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This was the second time we saw Rachel Podger and it was once again beautiful and compelling.

Rachel is so engaged, not only with her music but also with the other players, the audience, and the venue. She plays as if it is all a delightful game, but a game which expresses all the joy of the universe - frequently turning to smile at us almost mischievously after some delicious moment in the music, her arm movements gleeful and inclusive – she almost dances as she plays.

Norwich Baroque caught this joie de vivre, and played just about their best ever, in perfect conspiratorial unity. Jim O’Toole, the director, caught the mood too, and led the ensemble, when Rachel was offstage, with verve and sparkle. (I loved his Locatelli.) It was a virtuosic performance – from everyone.

On the programme tonight – The Concerto Grosso Op 6 no. 7 by Handel; Bach’s Violin Concerto in A after Concerto BWV 1055* – Autumn from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons* – (interval) – Locatelli’s Concerto in 7 Parts op. 1 no. 3 – Cello Suite No 2 BWV 1008*, transposed to A Minor, so that Rachel could play it solo from the pulpit – Vivaldi’s Concerto for Strings RV156 in G Minor – and the finale, La Folia by Francesco Geminiani*, which ‘brought the house down’.
Rachel Podger was playing the asterisked items.

Rachel playing Bach from the pulpit was utterly beautiful. She was so rapt in the music, and caught us up too

La Folia – the theme used by so many other baroque composers, but here with vigour and rapture indescribable, was definitely ‘the best moment’, but I also especially liked the Locatelli, led by Jim, which was also electric and exciting; and the Vivaldi in both halves was breathtaking too. ‘Semper Vivaldi, semper vivens’ – that composer is Life in a Bottle.

A wonderful evening – thank you, Jim O’Toole & Norwich Baroque, and thank you, wonderful Rachel Podger.
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