By Philipp Marquardt, in RP Online
When one thinks of viols, one thinks of the baroque. At the Altstadtherbest, the ensemble Fretwork at the Neanderkirche showed that these historical instruments are also suited to modern sounds: under the theme “New Wine in Old Bottles” the renouned English viol-players, with the mezzo-sporano Clare Wilkinson celebrated the old master Henry Purcell with contemporary tributes.
The composers employed Purcell’s vocabulary, quoting, varying and weaving these fragments into a new carpet of sound. Fretwork plays at the highest level, but it was in Purcell’s “Fantazia No. 8” that the musicians first achieved their full potential: they took their eyes off the music, and played the themes and meoldies completely freely. Wonderful!
Clare Wilkinson penetrated to the heart of this music – and even with an expressive joy which showed itself in gesture and mime. The audience thanked the performers with an ovation after the encore of Ralph Vaughan-Williams’s “Silent Noon”.