Spectacular debut from new baroque duo

Apeiron Baroque… fortepianist Marie Searles and violinist John Ma. Picture: Graham McDonald

Music / Apeiron Baroque. At Wesley Uniting Church, November 13. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD

THIS was the primary live performance by Apeiron Baroque, the duo of fortepianist Marie Searles and violinist John Ma.

They’re current arrivals in Canberra, shifting right here from the Netherlands earlier this yr. They have spent the final 16 years in Europe and have determined to make Canberra their dwelling, Searles having prolonged household right here.

The concept is that this duo would be the core of a versatile ensemble specializing in music of the Baroque and Classical durations.

This primary live performance targeting late 18th century music, the interval the place the fortepiano loved its few a long time of recognition, earlier than being relegated to the byways of musical historical past by the louder pianoforte within the early 19th century.

It was the kind of instrument that Mozart and Beethoven used and slowly having a revival within the ongoing search to search out the suitable sound for early music.

The decrease notes have a harpsichordlike percussiveness, while the higher register is far more like a contemporary piano.

Ma holds the violin in the baroque style, with no chin or shoulder relaxation, tucking the violin underneath his chin with a chunk of sentimental leather-based and is clearly having fun with himself on stage.

Searles is extra restrained with the occasional smile on the finish of a piece. The quieter sound of the fortepiano blends nicely with the violin, not dominating as can occur with fashionable pianos.

The live performance was of three sonatas for keyboard and violin, by Luigi Boccherini, CPE Bach and Jean-Frédéric Edelmann in addition to a solo piece by every musician. Searles carried out a gradual and reflective work by WF Bach, whereas Ma introduced a showpiece by German composer Johan Georg Pisendel filled with double stops and the bow bouncing throughout the strings.

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Of the duo sonatas, the primary motion of the CPE Bach work was significantly spectacular. A exact strolling bass and rippling arpeggios from Searles mixed with the violin weaving in and round was fairly pleasant, although nothing of the live performance disenchanted in any approach.

This was a most spectacular first live performance for this duo. This would possibly nicely be the beginning of some very attention-grabbing music making in Canberra and I sit up for listening to what they do subsequent.

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Ian Meikle, editor