The Shakespearean Connection

The Advertiser, Thursday 29 September 2011

Adelaide Baroque warmed a wintry afternoon with The Shakespearean Connection, a tasteful assemblage of music inspired by the greatest of all poets and playwrights.

Spoilt for choice, the five players and two singers offered songs and instrumental pieces from the century following his death in 1616, laced with readings from plays and sonnets - reminders that the words of he who coined "If music be the food of love" are themselves among the most musical in the English language.

Setting the scene, sopranos Emma Horwood and Louisa Perfect shared the verses in a lovely arrangement (a group effort, said recorder player Lynton Rivers) of Greensleeves.

In Robert Johnson's Full Fathom Five the decrescendos of ding donging bells were complemented by pinging pizzicatos from Graham Strahle's viol; for sheer charm, Horwood with her harp in Johnson's Have You Seen but a White Lily Grow rivalled Orpheus with his Lute as set by Robert Greene.

Plenty of Henry Purcell, of course - the rousing, tooting Sound the Trumpet and a slab from his The Fairy Queen.

Lesley Lewis (harpischord), Jayne Varnish (recorders) and Catherine Finnis joined Rivers and Strahle in various combinations for the accompaniments and gave finely judged accounts of Anthony Holborne's Consort Suite and Trio Sonate op 3 no 2 by Thomas Arne.M

Horwood farewelled us with Puck's mock-humble apologia from A Midsummer Night's Dream, knowing full well, as he did, that Robin had no need to make amends.

Elizabeth Silsbury, The Advertiser