This was an outstanding and special occasion clearly marking the start of the new season at the Wiltshire Music Centre. A compilation of a capella music and commentary on the life and works of Leonardo Da Vinci in this, the fifth centenary of his death. Eight voices led by their Director Robert Hollingworth, performing a wide variety of polyphony from Josquin des Pres and Janequin through to Adrian Williams and Gillian Clarke (2018). The commentary, witty and satisfyingly scholarly, and backed up by screened photographs of samples of Leonardo’s works, was given by Professor Martin Kemp.
Here then, was a fascinating evening for a nearly full house, focussing both intellect and emotional response to the presentation of Leonardo as a real live person of amazing imaginative and artistic abilities and the glorious music, largely unconducted, that fitted seamlessly into pauses in Professor Kemp’s dissertation. There was no need for any arm waving, even in the faster more complex passages such as in Janequin’s ‘La Guerre’. It was all embedded in those eight voices – tuning, tempi, phrasing, dynamics, just waiting for release. Wonderful. Another unique WMC ‘happening’.
Review kindly supplied by A. Corfe