Review: Arcangelo and Miloš Karadaglić, St George’s Hall, Bradford, Saturday 20th January 2024

JONATHAN Cohen’s Arcangelo period instrument ensemble continues to attract ecstatic five star reviews. On the evidence of this concert it is not difficult to see why.

Although the ensemble had just 6 violins, 2 viola, 2 cellos,1 double bass plus Cohen himself at the harpsichord, the sound was big and had a distinctive bite. The players seemed possessed of lithesome energy.

Last Saturday afternoon, St George’s Hall became the splendid setting for an intriguing odyssey of baroque masterworks for instrumental ensemble and/or solo guitar. The acclaimed ensemble’s eight-date UK tour cast a spotlight on renowned classical guitarist Miloš Karadaglić.

A rare opportunity then for Bradford to hear the Montenegro born guitar superstar’s transcriptions of pieces originally written for other instruments. Miloš explained to the audience his ethos when choosing what to transcribe for guitar - because he sincerely believes the pieces can be revealed afresh.

Arcangelo directed by Jonathan Cohen, opened with the Sinfonia from Vivaldi’s opera L’Olimpiade. They were joined by Miloš for Alessandro Marcello’s Adagio in D minor whose gorgeous solo line was originally written for oboe, and Luigi Boccherini’s Quintet No 4 in D major ‘Fandago’ for guitar and ensemble

The players walked off leaving the guitarist centre stage for Bach’s Chaconne BWV 1004 - a powerful description of grief exquisitely transcribed and phrased.

Part 2 opened with Pachelbel’s Canon which - love it or hate it - is one of the most famous classical pieces of all time. The Canon sounded positively buoyant as played by Arcangelo.

The second group of solos played by Miloš included Rameau’s The Arts and the Hours from his opera Les Boréades, Handel’s Menuet from Suite HWV434 in Bb major and the Passacaglia of Sylvius Leopold Weiss, originally for baroque lute

Arcangelo gave a shimmering performance of what is arguably Henry Purcell’s most colourful score - a suite from Act 1 of The Fairy Queen: Prelude, Hornpipe and Rondeau. Miloš and Arcangelo ended the official programme with Vivaldi’s Concerto in D RV 93.

Somewhere Over the Rainbow, transcribed and played by Miloš as an encore, delighted an enthused St George’s Hall audience.