Saturday’s concert with La Folie was another charming, ambitious and thoroughly enjoyable trip through some highways, and some decidedly less travelled byways, of Baroque repertoire. A substantially more ‘orchestral’ lineup than my previous outing with them brought theorbo, viola da gamba, trumpet and pairs of timpani, oboes and flutes into the fold besides strings and harpsichord, while most of the programme featured at least one of a quartet of singers. Focusing on the English Baroque meant a bigger range of time and style too, with Handel’s late compositions already leaning to the galant in places, in considerable contrast with Purcell two generations earlier still showing signs of the early Baroque before contrapuntalism became everything.
The consort is an artistically ambitious project – of historically informed performance practice, even if authentic instruments throughout is impractical, and of chamber-style playing with great autonomous responsibility for each performer, besides the wide-ranging approach to programming, so different to narrow canonist approaches seen in all too much classical planning that does not have arts charity backing; and (not unimportantly) of simple commitment to paying a respectable going rate to musicians. What I regret to report is that the audiences rarely amount to anything like a plausible break-even point as sole source of income.
So Luke, harpsichord / continuo extraordinaire and more importantly organiser, mover and shaker of the whole enterprise is finding that his own pockets unsurprisingly cannot sustain running an orchestra, even a very small one. So he is turning to crowdfunding to make La Folie run.
I’m old-fashioned about music as about many things; I would rather see a live audience pay for live entertainment to continue functioning if possible. So if you can come to a Chichester concert (or even to one of the upcoming string of performances on the Isle of Wight, which sadly I can’t join the group for), please do and spread the word. But if those just aren’t practical parts of the world for you, maybe you could put some fund’s to the consort through the crowdfunding page. You’ll see there that exciting plans are afoot, and some rather special rewards for donors in the offing. Watch this space! – but please watch from having ‘bought in’ first if possible …
In other news, I’m spending lunchtimes and early evenings playing Puccini in the City! If you have an hour to spare at 1 or 6 pm this week, come and see Suor Angelica up very close and personal at St Botolph Bishopsgate with Lunchbreak Opera. I can assure it loses no intensity from a reduced scoring and a smaller space. And by curious synchronicity, like the main subject of this post no set charge but donations are courteously invited! See you there.