What a pleasure to hear the Helianthus Ensemble at the Music Room of the Queluz Palace on Friday evening! Aside from the perfectly balanced combination of period instruments—late 18th Century— and the fact of the concert being in a "period" concert hall, as well, it was simply wonderful to hear great players enjoying playing together!
The give-and-take of chamber music was present at every moment, whether it be in the cellist's delight in the bass line, or the violin's discreet agitation of sixteenths in an accompaniment passage giving way to "stealing" the tune from the flutist! The harpsichordist (it was really a cembalo, I believe, with metal strings but hammer-action rather than plucked—I need an expert to sort that out for me, please!) was duly discreet UNTIL it was his moment to shine. Which was actually a lot, especially in the Mozart Concerto Op. 107, with real Mozart cadenzas as a bonus!
My favorites were perhaps the Danzi, of wind quintet and Flute Concerto fame, and the Haydn Trio for Flute, Cello and piano/cembalo. For the flutist (Laura Pontecorvo, see previous blog!) both were full of fancy filigree and rhythmic gestures contrasting with the most expressive, soaring melodic lines. Ditto for the others; it was a sort of musical game of chess—pure Haydn-esque fun, and delightfully executed!
Bravo to the Helianthus members, and come back soon!