Baroque Day, National Centre For Early Music, Jennifer Cohen, Flute & Peter Seymour, Harpsichord.
Elaine Annable, Music Correspondent
This delightful programme of Baroque flute music by J.S Bach, C.P.E Bach, and G.P. Telemann, was a joy from start to finish.
Jennifer Cohen is a talented flautist with a relaxed, easy manner and a real ability to communicate her enjoyment of the music.
Baroque music allows a lot of freedom in terms of articulations, dynamics and ornamentation, leaving it up to the performer to make an informed decision.
Jennifer Cohen is more than qualified to deliver a historically accurate interpretation of this programme: after graduating from the University of York in 2013 with a first-class honours degree with distinction, she took an MA in Performance Practice; followed by a PhD which included historically-informed performance practice of Baroque flute repertoire.
Clearly in her comfort zone, she gave an elegant, assured performance characterised by: a sweet, rich tone; long, expressive cantabile lines; effortless leaps from lower to upper register; and great breath control, with no distracting breath sounds, or overuse of vibrato.
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There was a clear understanding between musicians and a fine balance between flute and harpsichord - Peter Seymour's accompaniment was sensitive and understated.
The mood of Telemann's Fantasia in E Minor for Flute was captured immediately: you could almost hear a pin drop in the introductory largo which saw effortless leaps from upper to lower register, sweeping melodic lines and lovely dynamic contrasts and syncopation.
C.P.E Bach's Keyboard Fantasia II in C Major gave Peter Seymour the opportunity to take centre stage with a really enjoyable contrasting piece.
This was followed by a fine performance of Bach's Flute Sonata in E minor, featuring precise articulation in the tricky allegro movements, contrasting with beautifully shaped legato lines, and perfectly controlled crescendos on a single note in the slower movements.
Johann Joachim Quantz, a German flautist, flute maker and baroque music composer, who wrote a treatise on flute performance, was an advocate of tastefulness and simplicity in ornamentation.
C.P.E Bach's Sonata in G major highlighted everything that Jennifer Cohen does well: long, fluid lines; notes suspended in mid-air; and embellishments which were perfectly done, and at no point felt excessive.
A stylish, virtuosic end to a thoroughly enjoyable concert.
Baroque Day, National Centre For Early Music, Jennifer Cohen, Flute & Peter Seymour, Harpsichord., 13th May 2019, 16:54 PM