wee dug by Joe Davie

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman 7 June 2013

smileyConcerto Caledonia's unique performance style is to deliver early music with a panache that is impeccably informed, beautifully refined, yet ignited by a cheeky and compelling charm. And that's without mentioning the eccentric dress style of director David McGuinness, whose linen shorts and jacket are a million miles away from the normal staid attire of most early music makers.

It was a style that went down well in last night's informal early evening concert, for which McGuinness's compact group of regular musicians was joined by the grande dame of Baroque violin, Rachel Podger. The music itself had an eccentric twang to it, from Restoration theatre music by Matthew Locke and Henry Purcell, to the wonderfully bizarre pyrotechnic writing of the slightly younger Neapolitan violinist and composer Nicola Matteis.

The theatre pieces - Purcell's suit movements from The Fairy Queen and Dioclesian, and Locke's from The Tempest - were an exuberant delight, even if Locke's safer expression left him in the shadow of the charismatically inventive Purcell.

But part of the joy of this programme was to hear the more private aspects of either composer set against the public utterances.

As for Matteis's Scots-inspired Bizarrie all'Umor Scozzese, the ever increasing instrumental whoops and glissandi had all the foot-staming energy of a wild knees-up at the local folk club.sad

Kenneth Walton, The Scotsman 7 June 2013