Queen Elizabeth Hall
The short, but none the less welcome, series of organ concerts at the QEH opened with Catherine Ennis playing Bach's Musical Offering. The austerity of the work, particularly the canons, sits comfortably on the Flentrop with its hard edged tones and severe clarity.
The opening Ricecar a 3 was gently understated, allowing us to explore the structure as well as the essential intimacy of the writing. Catherine Ennis brought a lightness of touch to the first Canon and a fine sense of contrast to the second. The sensitive musical line in the Fuga canonica in Epidiapente was challenged by a disconcerting nasality in the Canon a 2 quaerendo invenietis and a rasping pedal attack in the Canon a 4.
The Sonata brought a sense of relaxation after the formality of the canons, the opening Allegro sounding almost lyrically romantic, but the work was firmly returned to its source with the magnificence of the concluding Ricecar a 6.
The warm and very enthusiastic response was totally justified for a performance which managed to conceive the work as a whole yet maintain the integrity of its individual parts. Would that all Bach concerts were as well conceived as this.
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