An early music feast

Dufay Collective & Alquimia, Snape Maltings, March 21stThis concert resulted from a shared Aldeburgh Residency between two distinguished groups who have built their reputations in different areas of early music.

Dufay Collective & Alquimia, Snape Maltings, March 21st

This concert resulted from a shared Aldeburgh Residency between two distinguished groups who have built their reputations in different areas of early music. Alquimia, a Spanish ensemble specialise in medieval music of the Iberian peninsula and North Africa, while the Dufay Collective explore Middle Age and Renaissance music generally. Both groups used traditional Arabic instruments alongside those from medieval Spain in a fascinating display of early music making.

Particularly striking from the first half pieces was the seventh Nuba - an exotic piece with a compelling display from percussionist David Herrera. One was immediately reminded of Ravel and his Spanish sources of inspiration. Other noteworthy pieces were the pastoral dance La Prime Estampie and the Celtic sounding music for bagpipe in Les un pins. As I approached my interval drink I felt that a hitherto pleasing and novel concert just needed a second half lift.

Regrettably, however, this failed to materialise; much of the subsequent music was repetitive, the sounds were already established and Vivien Ellis' voice rather lacked the distinctive character needed. It was good to see and hear this music from earlier times but I would suggest another look at the programming.


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Gareth Jones

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