The latest CD album, Alchemy, from Emily Askew and her band of early music musicians was recently reviewed in The Times as “unpredictable, impassioned and one of the albums of the year so far”. Hearing the CD programme live over their recent three day tour promoted by Concerts in the West, it is easy to endorse the Times’ reviewer’s enthusiasm. Performing to five different audiences in five different locations in Somerset and Dorset, Emily Askew, John Dipper, Jamie Roberts and Simon Whittaker embraced their various audiences with impeccable musicianship and skill, strongly laced with humour and well-rehearsed informative announcements.
At their final performance in Crewkerne, the band encouraged the audience to supply the vocal interjections in each verse of Ravenscroft’s The Three Ravens (1611). This a band that made contact as easily with a young audience of Saturday morning musicians and their parents at a workshop at Richard Huish College, Taunton, as they did with an audience of more mature years in the Great Hall of Brympton House near Yeovil.
To arrange a coherent early music programme of short pieces (13th to 17th centuries), which manages to keep its listeners’ attention for 90 minutes is a demanding task. Here, Emily Askew and her colleagues compiled a musical package that had balance of tempos, textures and tone-colours and used a judicial amount of their own ideas and interpretation from their vast collective performing experience. The links between the groups of disparate items were particularly effective.
For further information about the band visit emilyaskewband.co.uk
The 2017 season for Concerts in the West continues with a tour of the Carneval String Trio from 5 to 7 October 2017. For full information and how to obtain tickets visit www.concertsinthewest.org