What an uninspiring experience that was!
Ulrich Rasche, guitar
Bir Miftuħ chapel
I have been to most of the recitals since the festival was first launched and very, very rarely did I emerge disappointed; and never to the extent I was after this performance.
What should have been a pleasant experience of German baroque music mostly fell flat.
There was an air of unpreparedness which one would never expect of a mature performer like Ulrich Rasche.
A certain air of indecision and uncertainty hovered over most of the recital, despite the fact that the guitarist was following the music from scores.
To my mind the only refreshing piece of the recital was Silvius Leopold Weiss’s Fantasia in D minor.
The guitarist played it assertively by heart and with considerable expression.
The evening had started with a work by the pioneering Esaias Reusner, a composer of the pre-J.S. Bach generation.
As Mr Reusner explained when introducing the work, he was one of the first in Germany to compose suites and it was the Suite in A minor which was probably written for lute.
Things did not augur well quite early in this work, with the allemande sounding a bit disjointed, hiccups marked parts of the courante and sarabande and the remaining three movements were just about a dullish kind of development.
If the first Weiss piece promised some change this was dispel-led when the second Weiss work, Tombeau sur la mort de M. le Comte De Logy was performed.
Admittedly one held some hopes with the first few assertive chords but as the work progressed it was punctuated by too many uncertainties of delivery and when it was over you did try to muster some faint hope that with the last work some amends would be made.
In J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 3 in A, BWV 1009 (transcribed for guitar from the original for cello in C), the Prelude moved along somewhat and when some brightness shone on the allemande this was again soon beset by a sense of uncertainty.
Both the courant and the following sarabande started off pretty well but fell along the wayside as it almost became customary to expect, with the bourrées and final gigue hardly faring any better.
Sad indeed as one is normally used to much higher standards at Bir Miftuħ.
Applause at the end was polite rather than enthusiastic and as far as I could remember this was the first time that there were no encores.