IBO & Peter Whelan - Welcome home, Mr Dubourg - The Irish Times

But the latest CD from the Irish Baroque Orchestra, on Linn Records, Welcome home, Mr Dubourg, looks like opening up another, even more neglected seam. Violinist and composer Matthew Dubourg (1703-67) was appointed “Chief Composer and Master of His Majesty’s Musick attending the State in Ireland” in 1728. With conductor Peter Whelan in dynamic form, the IBO has recorded Dubourg’s complete 1739 ode, Crowned with a more illustrious light, a work which Whelan has managed, literally, to piece together from jumbled manuscripts in London’s Royal College of Music.

The reference point is Handel, who, in the context of the premiere of Messiah had written "as for the instruments they are really excellent, Mr Dubourg being at the head of them", and the vocal solos in the recording are also strongly delivered by soprano Anna Devin and mezzo-soprano Rachel Kelly.

The disc includes arrangements of Irish airs, Corelli’s Violin Sonata in A, Op. 5 No 5, with some elaborate ornamentation by Dubourg (“Correllis Solos Grac’d by Doburg”), Vivaldi’s Concerto in A for two violins (Sophie Gent and Claire Duff), RV519, and Dubourg’s own Violin Concerto in D, a work which survives only in a copy in a library in Dresden.

There is what is believed to be a treasure trove of uncatalogued 18th-century music in the National Library, and Whelan’s enthusiasm for this repertoire extends to ferreting out works in libraries. So there’s every reason to expect disc to be the first of many.

The Irish Times
01 May 2019