Saturday, 14 September 2013

Margaret Faultless brings her new baroque ensemble Gli Amici to perform at Lympstone Parish Church Saturday 7 September 2013

Gli Amici
at Lympstone Parish Churh
Leader: Margaret Faultless
Harpsichord: Andrew Wilson-Dickson
Violins: Julie Hill, Sharon Lindo,
Brigid Kirkland-Wilson
Viola: Steven Gleed
'Cello: Jonathan Rees
Violone: Jan Spencer
(Photo: Brian Mather, Lympstone Entertainments)

It was a sad day on Sunday 25th March last year. As the 'English Baroque Weekend' at Dartington Hall drew to a close, members of Totnes Early Music Group and Devon Baroque convened in the White Hart to bid a fond farewell to Margaret Faultless, who had been Musical Director of Devon Baroque for over twenty years, and for over one hundred performances.

Margaret Faultless and Andrew Wilson-Dickson
front Devon Baroque at their last Dartington concert
Henry Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas"
25 March 2012
In addition to Devon Baroque, Margaret had been Director of Performance Studies at Cambridge Faculty of Music, and Leader of the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra. Since leaving Devon Baroque, she has also taken on The European Union Baroque Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

The occasional appearances by harpsichordist Andrew Wilson-Dickson with Devon Baroque also ended in March last year - as the post of Director of Music was taken up by harpsichordist Jonathan Watts.

However, this was not the last we would see of Margaret Faultless - or Andrew Dickson-Wilson. Back in November 2011 Margaret and Andrew had been involved in an experiment which would lead to a new and different Devon Connection.

Devon Baroque in 2011
'Birds, Beasts and Battles' at The Swan Lympstone
Margaret Faultless centre
Andrew Wilson-Dickson far right
(Review: Philip Buttall)
On the sunny afternoon of Sunday 6th November 2011 Devon Baroque were in Dartington Great Hall to perform 'Birds, Beasts and Battles' (Schmelzer, Biber, Farina, Wilche & Bach). What many in the audience didn't realise was that Devon Baroque had given an informal performance the night before - in the Swan Inn, Lympstone.

Somehow John Welton, Chairman of Lympstone Entertainments, had managed to persuade the entire orchestra to share their music over pints and peanuts in the snug of the Swan. The experiment had been a total success and the musicians were keen to do something similar again.

Now, almost two years later, John has managed to bring back many of those talented baroque players to Lympstone. Under the name 'Gli Amici' (Friends). Margaret and Andrew were joined by Devon Baroque regulars Julie Hill, Sharon Lindo, Brigid Kirkland-Wilson, Steve Gleed, Jonathan Rees and Jan Spencer.

They opened the Lympstone Autumn Concert Series with their very first concert together. In Lympstone Church they played five incredible baroque masterpieces to a highly appreciative audience. Margaret's introductions were entertaining and informative in themselves, but the music transported everyone to another time and place.

Handel's 'Concerto Grosso' (Opus 3 Number 4) was a perfect introduction to the thrilling sound of these extraordinary musicians. Margaret was as skillful and lively as ever and her three fellow violinists, Julie Hill, Sharon Lindo and Brigid Kirkland-Wilson, followed her every move assiduously - in fascinating counterpoint. Steve Gleed's viola, deeper and more resonant, added a delicious undercurrent, while Jonathan Rees and Jan Spencer added continuo, and melody, on their 'cello and violone. In the forefront, Andrew Wilson-Dickson masterfully sprinkled the mix with the delightful sound of his harpsichord.

Margaret's introduction to the next item was longer and more involved. The friends had chosen something composed by former Exeter Cathedral Chorister Matthew Locke, 'A Suite from The Tempest'.

(By 'former' we mean that he was a choral scholar in 1638! On Friday 30 August this year, another veteran of 'Dartington Baroque Weekend' 2012, sackbut player Emily White, was at the Cathedral to perform in 'Grand Baroque' with JanJoost van Elburg. After rehearsals she went up to the organ loft to see the recently discovered inscription by Locke himself made as a sixteen year old boy - who later became court composer to King Charles II. Click here for photos.)

Locke's suite for stings benefited from Margaret's detailed description of the scene. As the curtain rose the audience would have found themselves looking through a noble corinthian arch decorated with roses and cupids. (To help people get the picture, the archway leading into the churchyard had been festooned with roses earlier in the day.) Through the arch a splendid vista of coast and sea would be visible with ships and mariners caught in a terrible storm.

Brigid Kirkland-Wilson opened the suite with a great crash of thunder on her authentic baroque 'lamiera per il rumore del tuono' (or wobble board). The music that followed was incredibly varied. Apart from telling the story of Shakespeare's play (in part - just six of the eleven movements) the music also showcased an incredible array of styles.

At some points as gentle as Bach's Orchestral Suite (think 'Air on a G String') the music regularly flew into a frenzy. The final movement saw Margaret at her most virtuosic, injecting ever-increasing energy into her playing, and inspiring all the others to do the same.

When it was all over, Jan Spencer, who had been playing second 'cello for the Locke suite, returned to his violone for Jonathan Rees' big moment. Vivaldi's 'Cello Concerto in A minor was an opportunity for the solo 'cello to take centre stage. Despite the apparently uncomfortable baroque playing position (supporting the 'cello with his calves) Jonathan was able to play with astounding skill and stamina for three movements of baroque excellence.

In the front row of the audience, watching with great admiration and pleasure, was another well-known 'cellist - Hilary Boxer. Her verdict was unequivocal: a superb performance.

There was a restful interval, during which the musicians mingled and chatted with the audience members over a glass of wine. Afterwards, in contrast to the fireworks of Locke's 'Tempest', the group played an engagingly gentle and mournful suite by John Dowland: 'Lacrimae Antiquae'. Once more Jan Spencer joined Jonathan Rees on 'cello.

As a thrilling finale to their inaugural public performance, Gli Amici played Sonata Number 5 in G by Georg Muffat. We hardly ever hear works by Muffat - and then two come along at once! Only a week earlier, the Blackdowns Early Music Projects choir had sung Muffat's 'Missa in Labore Requies'. With double choir, trumpets, sackbuts (including Emily White!), cornetti, and a string ensemble, the mass had left the audience filled with enthusiasm to hear more of this wonderful music.

There were no trumpets or sackbuts at Lympstone, but his string sonata had a magic of its own. Sharon Lindo came to the fore as Margaret Faultless' duetting partner.

The gentle trill of Andrew Wilson-Dickson's harpsichord ushered in a restful allemande to start things off. The following four movements included a fascinating and impressive fugue and finally a full-blooded passacaglia drew the full richness of tone from every instrument in a beautifully rounded and joyous close.

In response to the audience's applause, Margaret led one more baroque bagatelle (no clues as to what it was). This was just a bit of fun to send everyone away with an even bigger smile than they had already. To add a new flavour, Sharon Lindo abandoned her violin and beat and rattled an evanescent baroque tempo on the tambourine.

What a joy it has been to see and hear all these outstanding musicians performing together again. What a glorious programme they prepared for us - and how magnificently they played! Let's hope this new collaboration continues and 'Gli Amici' will be in action in Devon again before long.

Special thanks go to John Welton, and the Lympstone Entertainments Committee, for arranging such a splendid concert. The picturesque village of Lympstone is made even more attractive to visitors by the wealth of top quality entertainment that the committee arrange in the church, village hall - and local pubs - year after year.

Thoughts naturally turn to one rather thrilling possibility for the future, beer and baroque at the Swan, Lympstone with some very special friends - Gli Amici.


Three more exciting concerts still to come at Lympstone in 2013:

ONE FLUTE MANY VOICES


Susie Hodder-Williams
Ruth Molins at Lympstone
Parish Church Lympstone
(Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Sunday 22 September 4pm
FLUTES & STRINGS
Flutes: Ruth MolinsSusie Hodder-Williams
Violin: Emma Welton
'Cello: Hilary Boxer
Johann Sebastian Bach
Georg Philipp Telemann
Joseph Bodin de Boismortier
Tickets: £7 (u16 £5)
All 3 concerts: £16 (U16 £10)
(22 Sept, 20 Orct, 10 Nov)
John Welton: 01395 271915
johnwelton68@gmail.com
Full details of all concerts in


Ruth Molins

Ruth Molins at Lympstone
Parish Church Lympstone
(Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Sunday 20 October 4pm
ONE FLUTE, MANY VOICES
Flutes: Ruth Molins
Music, old and new, for flute,
alto flute, piccolo and electronics
Tickets: £7 (U16 £5)
All 3 concerts: £16 (U16 £10)
(22 Sept, 20 Oct, 10 Nov)
John Welton: 01395 271915
johnwelton68@gmail.com
Full details of all concerts in
Lympstone 'Drumbeat' Newsletter 





David Cottam
Ruth Molins at Lympstone
Parish Church Lympstone
(Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary)
Sunday 10 November 4pm
FLUTE BACHIANAS
Flutes: Ruth Molins
Guitar: David Cottam
'Cello: Hilary Boxer
Johann Sebastian Bach
Ástor Piazzolla
Heitor Villa-Lobos
Tickets: £7 (U16 £5)
All 3 concerts: £16 (U16 £10)
(22 Sept, 20 Oct, 10 Nov)
John Welton: 01395 271915
johnwelton68@gmail.com
Full details of all concerts in
Lympstone 'Drumbeat' Newsletter

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