Ok, so last night I went to see the disgustingly good Salut Baroque ensemble at the Conservatory of Music in Sydney, and I got mostly what I expected (Hans Diether Michatz [who's student Shaun Stewart is my two girl's violin teacher!] in his normal good form, Valmai Coggins getting more and better sound out, Tim Blomfield doing his usual funky bass violin, the beautiful Monika Kornel making me wish I was a harpsichord, Sally Melhuish keeping it all together) with a few new faces worth noting ;
Matthew Greco was a new name (and face) to me, playing remarkably well (although the Folia could use some extra booyah!) and with an extraordinary body language. He seems to be involved in a lot of good stuff, so I'll keep me ears open for more. Brilliant left-hand technique.
Simon Martyn-Ellis was a pleasant addition to the line-up; mellow playing smooth as silk which I'm sure he's "inherited" from one of his teacher, the best lute / theorbo player in the world (uh, yeah, I'm biased), fellow Norwegian Rolf Lislevand (of Jordi Savall fame, and who was musical director of the last concert I went to in Norway, the 1610 Vespers by Monteverdi, and you see him briefly in this video I recorded from the event and which I wrote about here). Or maybe he's got talent, who knows? :) Really nice playing.
Then there was soprano Anna Fraser which had a most delightful timbre to her voice! No unnecessary vibrato, no fake phrasing, just full goodness the whole way. Loved her voice.
And then there was my new love, soprano Jane Sheldon, who blinded me with her expressive and passionate rendering of anything she did, clear, passionate and full of life, no silly-billies or cheap courtesying, beautiful as a summers evening. Even sitting still she moved in the most enthralling way. Of course I can't here write a love letter without lamenting much about the meaningless of life away from mountains and the severe lack of spring in my walk to and fro work, so I'll spare you the details, except to say that she did a most thrilling Zefiro Torna I've ever heard a non-Italian ever do (yeah, I'm a Monteverdi geek).
Oh, Salut Baroqe, you tease me and pain me and drive me crazy with all that I long for. Until next time, thanks a lot.