Three Stars: The Age Reviews La Compañia’s Queen of the Golden Age
Early offering an antidote to modern dross
Clive O’Connell, The Age, 22 June 2012
As a timely reminder of how far the bar has dropped in musical craft, period music experts La Compañia gave an earnest airing to music from the time of Elizabeth I, with an almost inevitable focus on the songs of John Dowland. Filling in the spaces between Siobhan Stagg’s fluent accounts of Come again and Flow my tears, the ensemble, headed by Danny Lucin’s cornetto, bounded through galliards, pavanes and allemandes from less familiar names such as Anthony Holborne to even more obscure ones such as Innocentio Alberti.
Other Dowland works showed Stagg’s purity of intonation and her generally reliable breath control in the long arches of Flow my tears and the slightly more mobile Now, O now, the soprano’s contributions given a sterling context by the instrumental contributions where Lucin’s fluent top line found an agile match in the dulcians of Mitchell Cross and Brock Imison. Apart from a few dances that gave room to the gambas of Victoria Watts and Laura Moore, the recital’s sound complex was dominated by the earthy reediness of the three wind players, coupled with the crackling lute and renaissance guitar of Rosemary Hodgson.
This exercise, if not as polished as expected, illustrated clearly the richness of inspiration and genius underpinning English music’s golden age, at the same time showing up the inanity of that superannuated buffoonery resurrected to illustrate modern British musical accomplishments at the Diamond Jubilee concert.