Duo Dorado: Lunchtime Concert at St George's Bristol - Live Music Review
Posted on: 2019-02-25
A galvanizing musical kick, a life-reaffirming reminder of the power of great music, and a blissful 60 minutes in the company of some of the most talented musicians around.
An hour at one of city's finest musical retreats for an all-Bach programme of delightful sonatas, preludes and fugues? Awwww, go on then. Tucked away off Park Street lies St George's Bristol; this haven of bliss, temple of tunefulness, mecca of music - and for 60 minutes every Thursday they host one of their Lunchtime Concerts, a cross-section of performers, composers and styles that's the perfect antidote to the chaos of the crazy world around us. In other words, heaven. And when Duo Dorado - comprising violinist Hazel Brooks and harpsichordist Masumi Yamamoto - performed there recently, it was another ravishing concert of pure aural rapture.
Johann Sebastian Bach needs little introduction, being as he was (and remains) a titan of the classical, specifically Baroque era. There's a reason why his music endures, why it lasts, why it's still so resonant, why it still has the power to move, beguile, enchant. Simply because it's so darned good. And Brooks and Yamamoto brought a particularly exquisite display of impeccable musicianship to their Bach line-up. Violin/harpsichord combos such as Sonata in G, Sonata in B minor and Sonata in A were sublime, extolling a controlled understanding of each piece, hopping chirpily and skillfully from peppy vivaces, plaintive adagios, sprightly allegros and fiery prestos.
Capturing the essences of nobility and grandeur, their performances reflected the stateliness, grace and (frequently tricky) technique of Bach's music. Harmonics were perfectly balanced, textures were fresh yet often gutsy, phrasing was faultless, notes shimmered from their instruments with adroit style and tight mastery. And when left on her own to perform two Prelude and Fugues from the composer's famous Well-Tempered Clavier suites, Yamamoto's fingers danced effortlessly across the harpsichord keys like effervescent nymphs basking in the pieces' warm and brilliant glow; well-honed musical nuances embracing the solidness, style and very soul of Bach.
Refreshingly better attended this time (I knew if I banged on about these gigs often enough people would eventually listen), Brooks took time out between each piece to say a few explanatory background words and amusing anecdotes, adding extra interest and historical context to the compositions. Away from the horrors and the insecurities of the real world, these Lunchtime Concerts are a revivifying oasis in a global festering, wretched desert of despair; a galvanizing musical kick, a life-reaffirming reminder of the power of great music, and a blissful 60 minutes in the company of some of the most talented musicians around.
Jamie is a writer, blogger, journalist, critic, film fan, soundtrack nerd and all-round Bristolian good egg. He loves the music of Philip Glass, the art of Salvador Dali, the writings of Charles Bukowksi and Hunter S Thompson, the irreverence of Harry Hill, and the timeless, straw-chomping exuberance of The Wurzels. You can sometimes find him railing against a surging tide of passing cyclists, or gorging himself senseless on the Oriental delights of a Cosmos all-you-can-eat buffet.