The Academy of Ancient Music at The Apex

Viktoria Mullova joins Richard Egarr and the Academy of Ancient Music for a concert that sets the sublime against the joyful in music by Haydn and Bach.

Viktoria Mullova’s intelligence and artistry place her among the most exciting soloists of her generation, a violinist whose bold clarity of vision lets the music speak directly to the listener.

The Academy of Ancient Music is one of the world’s first period instrument ensembles. Back in 1973, most orchestras played classical music in a modern style. The instruments were different; the pitch was different; the number of players was different; the very essence and spirit of performances was different. But change was in the air. Wouldn’t it be great, people asked, if we could turn the clock back; if we could find out more about composers’ original intentions and get closer to the style in which music was originally performed? This was the spirit in which Christopher Hogwood founded the AAM.

The mercurial moods of CPE Bach’s Symphony in A major and the good-natured warmth and earthy wit of Haydn – heard here in his Symphony No 4 and his sparkling Violin Concerto in G major – stand in contrast to the transcendent, other-worldly beauty of Erbarme Dich from JS Bach’s St Matthew Passion, in which the purity of the countertenor voice is set in dialogue with its wordless spirit-double, the violin.

Continuing the AAM’s ‘From her Pen’ series which champions the unjustly neglected music of the Baroque’s women composers, the concert concludes with ‘Sinfonia’ from Pallade e Marte by the enigmatic Maria Margherita Grimani.

AAM was a pioneer in historically-informed Baroque performance; the whole orchestra working together to rediscover sounds which hadn’t been heard for hundreds of years. AAM continue to explore the sound-worlds which inspired Bach, Handel and Haydn. They revel in the expressive power of old instruments – flutes made out of wood, trumpets without valves, strings woven from gut. It’s not just the sound of the music which has changed – AAM performances are full of energy and passion and joy.

The Academy of Ancient Music play at The Apex on Monday 18 November at 7.30pm. Ring the box office on 01284 758000 or see the website www.theapex.co.uk for details.