What a treat to have an octet at CCC with two trumpets in full flow, evoking the atmosphere of the seventeenth century court. Spiritato! certainly lived up to their name and gave the responsive audience much to enjoy.
Purcell was the ideal choice as a start to this exciting evening. Trumpeters Will Russell and Russell Gilmore were the epitome of accuracy and clarity on their baroque instruments, providing a crisp and strong background to the whole evening. Violinist Kinga Ujszászi led every element of the programme with confidence and drive with the rest of the ensemble proving to be on top of their game and working well as a team.
We were told how the baroque trumpet had evolved from the earliest hunting horns with the facility to play tunes and not just fanfares. For my taste, however, I prefer modern stringed instruments to the gut strung early replicas but Spiritato! won me over with their expertise and togetherness, ably supported by a rich bassoon and a virtuoso harpsichordist. Of particular note in the Purcell Sonata in A minor was the confident support from a fine cellist.
The versatility of the Spiritato! was shown in full in the Corbett Suite in D from the second half of the seventeenth century. Here the dance movements were played with verve and enjoyment which clearly entranced the audience with the trumpets lifting the march theme to new heights. We then heard the French composer Rebel’s Les Caractères de la dance which we were told was like a dancer’s CV. The last sequence before the interval showed the leader in full control of her instrument, driving the sextet to a dramatic conclusion and the interval.
Trumpets introduced the second half from the back of the hall with a Sonata by Fantini before we were back to the strings for Legrenzi’s Sonata in D. This piece showed that the players were in full control of their period instruments and demonstrated their command of the baroque genre.
The next Sonata by Albreci required a re–tuning of the trumpets and gave full rein to the ensemble whose obvious enjoyment was transmitted to the audience and took us back to the atmosphere of court musicians. The two violins, cello and harpsichord then played Extracts from Ayres for the violin by Matteis, showing again the technical abililty of leader Kinga whose solo was a delight.
For the finale, Spiritato! pulled out all the stops and played the Franceschini Suonata a 7 con due Trombe with verve and vitality, a style which will continue to delight audiences wherever they go. Bravo Spiritato!