The SCO performed an interesting programme of baroque greats last week. It was a full program including Telemann's Water Music Suite in C major "Ebb and Flow", Heinichen's Sonata in F major for two horns, lots of Bach of course and Vivaldi's Concerto in G minor "di Dresda".
There was a preconcert talk with the Conductor, Richard Egarr who also played harpsichord. Richard Egarr is internationally known for his work with period music and is now an Associate of the SCO. It was a great concert, made all the more interesting by the baroque music that we have been playing in our own strings group.
Richard Egarr talked about cutting through the misinformation about baroque music. He mentioned research on tempo which would sometimes change during a piece for good musical reasons. This was contrary to the belief of several music colleges he had visited where students were forced to stick rigidly to a tempo.
He also talked about the harpsichord and its lack of dynamics. This meant that the strings needed to play down. They should also avoid vibrato. It was interesting that during the performance I could see the conductor waving the violins down at times so the harpsichord could be heard and there wasn't a vibrato in sight. Something that happens to us when we play baroque too. Richard Egarr was very complimentary about the SCO's ability to be flexible and intelligent in their interpretation of the music.
It was beautiful music and a really interesting night.