A Golden Wire Ensemble Delivers a Night of Baroque English Love Songs

Published February 10, 2024

In a journey back to the 17th century, A Golden Wire alongside their musical comrades, delivered a captivating concert that centered on Baroque English love songs. The ensemble, consisting of Parker Ramsay on harp, Arnie Tanimoto playing the viola da gamba, soprano Nola Richardson, and lutenist Kevin Payne, took concertgoers on a thematic exploration of love and its madness as depicted in the era's music and poetry.

Exploring the Baroque Era

The performance, entitled 'Love's Sickness,' was predominantly focused on the compositions of Henry Purcell, alongside works by William Lawes, John Blow, and the French composer Marin Marais. Parker Ramsay's engaging prelude talk set the stage for the audience, providing context that enriched the musical experience to follow.

Each piece performed reflected a different facet of love's influence, kicking off with Purcell's 'Music for a while,' beautifully rendered by Richardson's precision and fluid vocal nuances. The thematic diversity continued as the ensemble took us through various representations of love's power through song.

Ensemble Synergy and Solo Showcases

Interpretation of this historical music requires both research and artistry, and the ensemble did not disappoint, displaying excellent solo performances and cohesive collaboration. Tanimoto's pizzicato and bowing techniques, Payne's theorbo accompaniment, and Ramsay's emotive harp introductions exemplified the individual members' talents while enhancing the group dynamic.

Richardson's soprano voice did more than just sing; it acted, bringing to life characters and emotions from Purcell's 'Bess of Bedlam' to the intense portrayal of Mary's anguish in 'The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation.' Contrastingly, John Blow's 'We all to conquering beauty bow' was presented with a folk-like charm that could easily resonate with modern audiences.

The intimate setting of Blue Gallery proved ideal for the music, originally intended for close quarters, allowing each nuance to be appreciated fully. The ensemble's proficiency made the complex works accessible and rejuvenating, sharing less-known compositions with a contemporary audience.

Their skillful revival of pre-classical music was a testament to the relevance and beauty of Baroque melodies amidst today's diverse musical landscape.

Baroque, Concert, Love