Classical Music

MUSICIAN PROJECT ORCHESTRA RETURNS TO THE CON WITH SOME CLASSIC BRUCKNER

The Musician Project Orchestra returns to Verbrugghen Hall in September, to present a performance of Bruckner’s magnificent Third Symphony.

Widely considered the first work in which Bruckner’s unmistakable musical language fully blossoms. The work also demonstrates his special relationship to Wagner. Bruckner visited Wagner in September 1873, offering to dedicate either his Second or Third Symphony to him.

It turned out to be a very convivial meeting and the beer flowed freely. So much so that on his return home, Bruckner realised to his horror that he could not remember which of the symphonies the master had chosen. An exchange of letters clarified the situation: Wagner had chosen the Third, something which was no great surprise, as Bruckner had incorporated diverse Wagner quotes in the work. The concert opens with Wagner’s delicate & peaceful birthday gift to his wife: the Siegfried Idyll.

Returning to the podium will be our Artistic Director, the peerless Max McBride.

DATE FOR THE DIARY
September 30 2017 AT 7pm at the Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium Of Music,

For more about Musician Project Presents: Bruckner 3, visit http://musicianproject.net.au/september-2017/
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WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : FANTASY @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured photo – Violinist Ji Won Kim.

The latest wonderful concert by the fabulous Willoughby Symphony Orchestra was entitled FANTASY, regarding stories of sorcery, storytelling and true love.

Conducted enthusiastically and energetically by Dr NIcholas Milton the Orchestra was in glorious form and dealt with the quite different styles of playing required for the various pieces excellently . It was a multilayered, beautifully nuanced elegantly precise performance that at times was explosively powerful.

First up was Glinka’s Ruslan and Ludmila Overture (1842) It was played at a fast and furious pace. An emphatic melody for winds, brass and timpani is connected by the surging violins in a tearing hurry. A dialogue develops between the creeping woodwinds and swirling strings, then the cellos sing lyrically with the melody being taken up by the violins and all ends in a tempestuous, breathless finale.

The bulk of the first half was Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E Flat major for violin Viola and Orchestra K 364, as performed by two of Australia’s most exquisite instrumentalists, Ji Won Kim on violin and Caleb Wright on viola. Ji Won Kim wore a beautiful long pale ice green gown, Caleb Wright was in orchestral black.

Both soloists were given equal billing and dazzled in their solos and showy duets. The opening was brisk and emphatic and mostly the work was a dialogue between violin and viola with mini solos. Their playing was many textured and multilayered, full of exquisite delicacy and thoughtful phrasing .At times it was fiery and passionate, at others lustrous , fluid and shimmering. The middle adante movement began as an aching lament and the Orchestra pulsated underneath with a heartfelt shimmering duet for the two soloists. The third Presto section was in a far brighter and bouncier tone leading to the delicious conclusion.

There was thunderous prolonged applause and for an encore Kim and Wright performed Handel’s Passacaglia in G Minor for Violin and Viola in a jaw dropping version that was strikingly different in style to the previous Mozart piece. It began quite formally then dramatically changed – some parts were explosively powerful, others were lyrical and emotional (eg the rather reflective central variation).

The second half, an exotic Turkish delight, consisted of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s orchestral fantasy Scheherazade,( 1888 ) based on the tale of the storyteller princess who tricks a murderous Sultan into letting her live by telling him 1001 enchanting tales. Balletomanes might remember this was choreographed by Mikhail Fokine for the famous ballet by the Ballets Russes starring the legendary Nijinsky and Karsavina.

Both Kim and Wright joined the Orchestra, Kim leading the violins and shimmering as the ‘voice’ of the narrator Scheherazade, or Zobeide (if you are thinking of the ballet version).It was given a lush, dramatic and stirring performance full of fiery passion and sweeping melodies. Ji Won Kim dazzled in the delicate violin solos .The symphonic narrative is divided into four sections and Rimsky-Korsakov’s dazzling creation of being at sea and other luscious sounds is hypnotic .

The composer had originally given the four sections story titles but later changed this. The first section introduces Scheherazade and the Shah , with her tremulous , shimmering voice on violin and his stern, turbulent one and you can hear the ships and the sea .The second and third sections are circular in format with the beginning theme of each movement heard again at the conclusion, in the third movement woodwind have a dialogue with the strings , both ‘voices’ are featured , lush strings occur in the third movement and a crashing, tumultuous section and more brass fanfares lead to a restatement of the main melody and a hushed, lyrical conclusion.

There was great enthusiastic applause for this captivating concert .

Running time 2 hours including interval
Willoughby Symphony in Fantasy runs at The Concourse Chatswood 5-6 August 2017

 

OMEGA ENSEMBLE: ‘SCHUBERT’S TROUT’ @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above: Omega Ensemble’s quintet performed Schubert’s ‘Trout’ quintet. Alexandra Osborne (violin), Neil Thompson (viola), Maria Raspopova (piano) Alex Henery (double )bass and Paul Stender (cello).  Featured image: For the Schubert Octet D 803, the string players above were joined by Veronique Serret (violin), Michael Dixon (horn), Ben Hoadley (bassoon) and David Rowden (clarinet). Photo credit – Bruce Terry.

The audience for this Omega Ensemble concert was treated to some very sophisticated Schubert. The performances of two substantial Schubert works  displayed all the elegance we love from this master of melody. Schubert’s command of  classic forms and a subtle but sure glance forward in history with sudden outbursts of Romantic drama albeit were rendered at all times with finesse within the works’ architecture.

This concert demonstrated Omega Ensemble’s ability across its annual concert series to cover a wide range of styles and  repertoire. In the concert, the group illustrated its flexibility of instrumentation and ability to attract some Australia’s finest string and wind players into its ranks when needed. Continue reading OMEGA ENSEMBLE: ‘SCHUBERT’S TROUT’ @ CITY RECITAL HALL

DMITRY SINKOVSKY THE SINGING VIOLIN @ CITY RECITAL HALL

This was a fascinating concert that was perhaps a trifle uneven in the first half but the second half was astonishing and the audience gave a thunderous standing ovation which led to THREE encores.

The Brandenburg Orchestra’s special guest artist Dmitry Sinkovsky was a star student of the iconic Moscow Conservatory (where Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich once taught and Rachmaninoff studied). He was groomed for an international career on modern violin but changed focus in 2005 and pursued specialised early music training in Moscow, Montreal and Holland.

Now he is a highly regarded laureate in many European violin competitions (including first, audience and critic’s prizes in the coveted Music Antiqua Competition in Bruges). He is in great demand internationally both as violinist and as a counter tenor.

Sinkovsky is an very charismatic figure. Dressed in black he had his hair long and channelled his inner Paganini (or some other Romantic performer/composer perhaps) playing intently, cradling his violin intimately and swaying with the music. When singing he was proud, passionate and fiery. He played a rare and precious Francesco Ruggeri violin made in Cremona in 1675.

The concert began with Aubert’s bright, flowing Ciaconna from his Concerto for four violins in D Major Op. 26, No. 3 featuring energetic swirling strings. Dyer, as always, conducted enthusiastically from the keyboard. The Orchestra throughout breathed and played as one with glorious ensemble playing.

Then came Telemann’s fiendishly difficult Concerto for Violin in B-flat Major TWV 51:B1 “per il Sig Pisendel” featuring the extraordinary Sinkovsky The first movement was pulsating with powerful undercurrents , the second had a most emphatic beginning and circular rhythms which Sinkovsky took and embroidered. The third movement, by contrast , was far more lyrical and softer, with Sinkovsky tender yet dazzling in his playing. The fourth movement saw Sinkovsky in a blisteringly fast mini solo, the melody stated and passed around the Orchestra, Sinkovsky embellishing again in commanding Il Divo mode on his violin.

Vivaldi’s Concerto for two Horns in F Major, RV 538 was next, rich and vibrant at a galloping pace featuring Darryl Poulsen and Doree Dixon on Baroque horn. This was a rich and vibrant performance. In the first movement the horns stated the melody and led the Orchestra and the third movement was a fast showy duet for horns and orchestra, both movements animated allegros and with featured use of ritornellos. The middle, second movement however was a lyrical, eloquent passage for the cello and double basses.

Leclair’s Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op.7 No.2, full of elegant playing, featured a soft, hushed opening, Sinkovsky eventually leading shimmering violins. In the first movement Sinkovsky had a darting very fast mini solo whilst the second movement was fluid with pulsating undercurrents, Sinkovsky was dazzling in his warm, rich bravura solo comprising full of leaps and difficult arpeggios. The final movement saw Sinkovsky very intense, yet lyrical with his glittering playing leading to an exuberant conclusion.

After interval the Locatelli Concerto Grosso in E-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 7 “Il Pianto D’Arianna”, in some ways an instrumental opera, based on the Greek legend of Cretan princess Araidne, was off to a slow, poignant beginning which then turned suddenly blisteringly fast.

The Orchestra was brisk and emphatic, rather stately and eloquent in a thoughtful discussion with Sinkovsky, who charmed us with his warm, lustrously textured playing, In the second movement, the orchestra played p its lament and there was a sudden change to brisk scurrying while the third movement featured Sinkovsky’s shimmering playing.

Then came Locatelli’s Introduttioni Teattrali in D Major Op 4/5 with its cascading, rolling strings and bright, swirling circular rhythms. Paul Dyer enthusiastically led on harpsichord.

The last work, officially, on the program was Vivaldi’s complex Concerto for Violin in E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito” with emphatic, dynamic strings and Sinkovsky’s extraordinary dazzling, soaring playing full of delicacy and simplicity. The second movement began slowly and softly, developing a floating, dreamlike atmosphere and Sinkovsky’s playing was poignant and extremely eloquent. The third final movement saw a forceful start by the Orchestra and Sinkovsky had a very fast showy solo, swooping and soaring on his violin, as part of a dynamic dialogue with the Orchestra.

After thunderous , prolonged applause the first encore was Locatelli’s Capriccio from his Concerto in D Major (Op. 3, No. 1) with Sinkovsky blistering on his skittering violin.

in a delightful , surprising move, the second encore was Handel’s Dove sei from Rodelinda (HWV 19) with Sinkovsky leaving the violin behind, and performing as counter tenor. This piece was fluid and passionately dramatic.

The final encore was Handel ‘s Va tacito e nascosto from his Giulio Cesare in Egitto (HWV 17) – the Hunting Aria – where Sinkovsky was explosively powerful and there was a teasing, dynamic ‘anything you can do I can do better’ duet with Darryl Poulsen on horn. The concert ended with tumultuous applause and a standing ovation.

Running time just under 2 hours and 30 minutes including one interval.

DMITRY SINKOVSKY: THE SINGING VIOLIN is playing the City Recital Hall until Friday 4th August. The concert then moves to   Melbourne and Brisbane

PROGRAM
Aubert Ciaconna from Concerto for four violins in D Major Op. 26, No. 3
Telemann Concerto for Violin in B-flat Major TWV 51:B1 “per il Sig Pisendel”
Vivaldi Concerto for two Horns in F Major, RV 538
Leclair Concerto for Violin in D Major, Op.7 No.2
Interval
Locatelli Concerto Grosso in E-flat Major, Op. 6, No. 7 “Il Pianto D’Arianna”
Locatelli Introduttioni Teattrali in D Major Op 4/5
Vivaldi Concerto for Violin in E Minor, RV 277 “Il Favorito”
Plus encores.

 

 

AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : INTIMATE MOZART @ CITY RECITAL HALL

Intimate Mozart indeed. This was a ravishing concert full of superb playing.

The concert was  a small scale recital, the ACO being represented by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and three featured principals: second violinist Helena Rathbone, cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, and guest viola player Florian Peelman.

Kristian Bezuidenhout was the amazing soloist on piano. Born in South Africa, raised in Australia, educated in the US and now a resident of the UK, pianist, Bezuidenhout is regarded as one of the world’s leading performers of Mozart. (Since 2009, he has been recording the complete keyboard music of Mozart). Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : INTIMATE MOZART @ CITY RECITAL HALL

AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE WITH MELVYN TAN@ CITY RECITAL HALL

Above: Australian Haydn Ensemble’s Artistic Director Skye McIntosh with some ensemble members. Featured image: visiting fortepianist  Melvyn Tan.

The Australian Haydn Ensemble’s (AHE) 2017 season continued with the group’s signature elegance, intellect and visceral precision on exciting display. ‘Melvyn Tan and Haydn’s Paris’ was a  brilliantly devised programme of 18th century works with wonderfully interlocking connections. It also featured a fine collaboration with internationally renowned fortepianist Melvyn Tan.

As well as the concert including AHE favourites Mozart and Papa Haydn, it introduced us to the music of Parisian star performer, composer, dancer and fencing champion Chevalier de Saint Georges. We heard music from this dazzlingly individual and contemporary of Mozart in both the formal programme as well as in encore.

Chevalier de Saint Georges’ Symphony Op 11 No 2 in D major (1779) was presented in an Australian concert premiere. The bold delivery was carefully controlled by Artistic Director and violinist Skye McIntosh. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE WITH MELVYN TAN@ CITY RECITAL HALL

THE PRELUDE IN TEA SERIES : THE SERAPHIM TRIO @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

An adventure of sound, emotion and glorious celebration of the history of Piano Trios superbly performed by the talented Seraphim Trio.

The Seraphim Trio consisting of Anna Goldsworthy (piano), Helen Ayres (violin) and Tim Nankervis (cello) delighted a very keen Sydney audience last Sunday afternoon to a wonderful program celebrating the artistry and musical achievement of Piano trios through time.

This concert was part of the Independent theatre’s ‘Prelude in Tea’ chamber series which offers a delicious afternoon tea at 2.30 (be sure in future to get there early to secure a much prized seat) followed by the concert one hour later.

The concert was opened by a brief introduction by Ayres (violin) who explained the difficulty in selecting only 3 Piano trios amongst the vast array of alternate and significant piano trio histories.

From the Viennese salon of Mozart to the stirring folk imaginings by Dvorak and then to the majesty of Ravel the dynamic properties between the piano, violin and cello in a balanced dialog were presented at their best by these superb musicians. Continue reading THE PRELUDE IN TEA SERIES : THE SERAPHIM TRIO @ THE INDEPENDENT THEATRE

YOUNG INSTRUMENTALISTS SET TO DAZZLE WITH AUGUST CONCERT @ THE CON

The NSW Doctors Orchestra Sydney Eisteddfod Instrumental Scholarship attracts the finest players from across the nation. The final is always an inspiring occasion that no devotee of classical music should miss.

Sponsored by the NSW Doctors Orchestra- Musicus Medicus and The Brian Shearman Memorial Trust Fund, the Scholarship endeavours to discover and encourage an outstanding instrumentalist in the fields of strings (bowed and plucked), woodwind or brass instruments. Continue reading YOUNG INSTRUMENTALISTS SET TO DAZZLE WITH AUGUST CONCERT @ THE CON

YOUNG PIANISTS COMPETE FOR MAJOR SCHOLARSHIP

With four outstanding pianists competing for a total prize purse of $13,500, the final round of The John Allison & Sydney Eisteddfod Piano Scholarship showcases the finest talent from across the nation. The concert is sure to impress all loves of piano music!

Two Finalists will also be invited to comprete in the ‘2017 Fine Music 102.5 Young Virtuoso State Final’ on Sunday August 27 at the Fine Music Performance Studio.

When: Saturday 8 July 2017, 2.30pm

Where: Recital Hall West, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Cost: Adult $30; Concession $25 (+bf)

Bookings:

https://sydneyeisteddfod.com.au/the-john-allison-and-sydney-eisteddfod-piano-scholarship-16-25-years/#tickets

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LIVE AT LUNCH : NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON @ THE CONCOURSE

Featured photo – Jane Rutter.

This was a delightful concert the theme of which was nocturnes and songs to the Moon – appropriate for a performance on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year.

Jane Rutter’s special guests artists this time were soprano Catherine Bouchier, pianist John Martin and singer/guitarist Bertie Boekemann.

For the concert Rutter wore a striking, elegant blue gown with a draped over the shoulder long silver shawl.

The concert opened with Dvorak’s Song to the Moon  from his opera Russalka in a passionate performance. Schumann’s Mondnacht was melancholic and Strauss’ Die Nacht was somewhat brighter in mood with a rippling piano and flute. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : NOCTURNES AND SONGS TO THE MOON @ THE CONCOURSE

THOROUGHBASS OVERTURE AND CONCERTO @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

Featured photo – Guest artist Michael Tsalka on harpsichord.

This was a very charming and delightful concert performed with delicacy and vigour. There was fine ensemble work by all and some dazzling harpsichord playing. Under the direction of Diana Weston we were privileged to welcome the return of Michael Tsalka on harpsichord.The program featured six short works. First we heard the elegant, quite operatic Johann Freidrich Fasch’s Overture arranged by Stephen Yates. This piece was stately yet lyrical and at times very fast paced.

Next was Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto RV 319 arranged for two harpsichords in three movements again arranged by Stephen Yates. The first movement began with a fast and insistent feel, one harpsichord acting like the violin soloist, the other the orchestra in a delightful dialogue between the two.

The second movement was more heartfelt and sorrowful, melancholic and reflective– however this changed to cascading, shimmering, faster, rippling notes on the keyboard taking us through to the third movement. This was an animated discussion between the two harpsichords full of crystalline delicacy and circling rhythms that led to a bright, powerful conclusion. Continue reading THOROUGHBASS OVERTURE AND CONCERTO @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENT ‘MIRACLE’ @ THE CONCOURSE 

Conductor Carol,yn Watson

Featured photo – Guest artist,  Artistic Director of Ensemble Offspring, Claire Edwardes

Under the enthusiastic, precise and dynamic baton of Carolyn Watson, garbed dramatically in red and black, Willoughby Symphony Orchestra were in fine form with their latest concert, MIRACLE.

The first work gave the program its umbrella title, being Haydn’s Symphony No 96 in D The Miracle, so called because of the tale of the work’s premiere when a chandelier fell from the concert hall ceiling and narrowly missed the audience!

The first of the ‘London ‘ symphonies, it is in four movements and there were hints of the Beethoven symphonies and some surprises. The work begins dramatically with a strong, crashing opening and emphatic strings. The second movement contrasted with lyrical and stormy sections and had a quite balletic atmosphere full of airy elegance. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PRESENT ‘MIRACLE’ @ THE CONCOURSE 

BALMAIN SINFONIA : CENTENARY CONCERT @ THE ITALIAN FORUM LEICHHARDT

Above: Tinel Dragoi performed Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 5 with the Balmain Sinfonia. Featured image: Director of Music for Balmain Sinfonia, Gary Stavrou OAM

This was Balmain Sinfonia’s 100th concert, and the orchestra’s popular contribution to the local performance scene since its inaugural concert in May 1992 is truly cause for celebration.

This milestone Balmain Sinfonia concert included the usual fare of an excited audience, a diverse concert programme and interesting programme notes to help unpack and enhance the works presented.

The evening also offered champagne for all in the crowd and interspersed with the music were tributes by Director of Music Gary Stavrou OAM to founding members of the orchestra.

Audience participation in the form of the signature music trivia or Mystery Music  for the chance to win tickets to future concerts continued to engage old and new audience members alike.

Collaboration between the orchestra and a local soloist again was a feature of this concert. As always it introduced the audience to a great work and an accomplished artist. This concert saw Romanian-born violinist Tinel Dragoi  join the orchestra  on the stage.

In this concert his intelligent and expressive rendering of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No 5 in A major K 219 was a highlight of the first half.

In particular, the cadenza work was beautifully conveyed by this violinist’s intricate artistry. There was no showy or ingenuine note in his interpretation of the concerto. Instead, a simply elegant and exacting development of Mozart’s extensive musical ingredients and language ensued.

Mozartean drama and a sufficiently sympathetic accompaniment were provided by the smaller ranks of Balmain Sinfonia exposed in this work.

The first half of the concert began with two atmospheric works by the chemist-composer Alexander Borodin. For this celebratory concert, such a choice of composer rang out a keen note of comparison to formidable conductor Gary Stavrou, whose early qualifications were in pharmacy.

We heard Borodin’s descriptive works In the Steppes of Central Asia and the Prince Igor Overture. On this occasion the second work was especially successful in conveying the depth of tone colour and mood necessary for painting Borodin’s fine vistas and characterisations.

After interval the Balmain Sinfonia supplied us with more colourful playing as Dvorak’s Symphony No 8 in G major Op 88 was boldly delivered.

The first movement, allegro con brio, endeared us to Dvorak’s signature evocative and gentle development of musical material.

It also showed off the talents of Balmain Sinfonia in their centenary concert.

Through the remainder of this symphony we were taken on a quality excursion. Firstly, through an expanded adagio, here  well played to portray Dvorak’s unique approach to drama and also the legacy of such slow movements as written by Beethoven.

The orchestra contrasted this movement with a successfully lilting allegretto grazioso third movement and concluded with a fourth movement rich in brass fanfares and here with a well structured delivery of Dvorak’s version of the classic theme and variations structure. As in the Borodin works, there were repeated moments of fine playing from Balmain Sinfonia’s wind and brass choirs throughout this symphony.

Bravo and Happy Birthday to the Balmain Sinfonia for its 100th event. This is an achievement, as is its continued fostering of a firm fan base and team of capable volunteers. Both these are assets in the modern concert-making environment.

Balmain Sinfonia’s next performance on September 23 promises to entertain. It will include Khachaturian, Respighi, orchestra members playing Bach’s Concerto for Oboe and Clarinet orchestra, and Mozart’s  Symphony No 25 in G minor K 183, which had its opening feature in the film Amadeus.

 

 

COMING SOON : ST PETER’S CHURCH AND SOLOISTS PERFORM ‘JUDITH’ AND THE FRENCH BAROQUE

The libretto is based on Biblical story of Judith (7-15). Judith, a beautiful widow is upset with her Israelite countrymen for not trusting in God to deliver their home, Bethulia, from their Assyrian conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid, Abra, to the Assyrian camp and promises the enemy general, Holofernes, information on the Israelites.

When she gains his trust, she is invited to a banquet in Holofernes’ tent where drinks himself into a stupor. When Judith gets him alone, she decapitates him. She takes his head back to Bethulia and her fearful countrymen. When the invading Assyrian army realizes they have lost their leader, they retreat.

The performance will be presented by the Choir and Soloists of St Peter’s, Surry Hills. and will be conducted by Eugene F. Raggio.

The St Peter’s community invite music lovers to an afternoon of good music and cheer.

St Peters Catholic Church is located at 235 Devonshire Street, Surry Hills. Entry is  via a private road off Marlborough St.

Tickets – $20 adults and $15 concession- can  be purchased at the door.

All ticket sales will go to raising money for a new Pipe Organ which is to be installed in 2018.

DATE FOR THE DIARY :-

18 June 2017 at 3 pm

For more about St Peter’s Choir & Soloists present Judith & the French Baroque, visit
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THOROUGHBASS PRESENT ‘OVERTURE AND CONCERTO’ @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

 

Featured image – Michael Tsalka. Pic by Olga Masri de Mussali.

Thoroughbass is delighted to welcome back international keyboard specialist Dr Michael Tsalka in a concert of overtures and concertos for two harpsichords and strings. Tsalka, whose performances last year left audiences enthralled, joins Diana Weston to perform works by J.S. Bach, Vivaldi, Scarlatti and others.

Dr Tsalka walks the global stage performing hundreds of concerts each year in Europe, Japan, China, the USA and Australia. His repertoire spans the baroque, classical and romantic eras to the present day. His performances, whether on harpsichord, fortepiano, clavichord or modern piano are historically informed and full of musical integrity.

Bach’s concerto for Harpsichord and strings BWV 1055 will be well-known to many. Less well-known but no less worthy of performance are Georgio Benda and Alessandro Scarlatti’s concertos for the same combination. Continue reading THOROUGHBASS PRESENT ‘OVERTURE AND CONCERTO’ @ MOSMAN ART GALLERY

ANGELA HEWITT PIANO RECITAL @ CITY RECITAL HALL

 

This matinee event at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place was the final recital concert in Angela Hewitt’s recent national tour with Musica Viva. Hewitt hailed Musica Viva as world class prior to encores, recognising them as a world leader in tour presentation and support. This fine partnership was matched by exquisite interpretations of Bach and early Beethoven by Hewitt which reinforced her international superstar status.

The programme demonstrated pure balance and symmetry just as successfully as the pianist’s excellent and even command of fugue and counterpoint. Each half of the concert consisted of a substantial Bach Partita with a well-known Beethoven sonata to follow.

The Partita format was a fine vehicle with which to present Angela Hewitt’s consummate and quite legendary Bach interpretative skills. New and existing fans delighted in the fine control, contrasts in character between the dance movements and layers of nuance selected to create a Bach keyboard sound for the piano. This sound never directly imitated the Baroque instruments nor did it drown out the music’s subtleties by using sound options from the modern instrument’s arsenal. Continue reading ANGELA HEWITT PIANO RECITAL @ CITY RECITAL HALL

JENNY’S DREAM : TO PRODUCE AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ELECTRIC VIOLA DA GAMBA CD

Jenny Erikkson’s group Elysian Fields is Australia’s only electric viola da gamba ensemble. Their dream/vision is to take one of the Western world’s oldest instruments into the 21st century! Her troupe is seeking funding help from music lovers to make this dream possible. 

Things are already in action. Leading jazz artists and composers Matt McMahon and Matt Keegan have each written a remarkable major song cycle for the CD – making them the first and second Australian composers ever to write vocal music for the electric gamba!  

Bassist Siebe Pogson has written several pieces as has Eriksson herself.  Each of these works has been premiered and “played in” to live audiences.   Continue reading JENNY’S DREAM : TO PRODUCE AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ELECTRIC VIOLA DA GAMBA CD

AUSTRALIAN ROMANTIC AND CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA: ‘UNFINISHED ROMANCE’ @ CITY RECITAL HALL

A joyous celebration of Rossini and Schubert by the formidable Australian Romantic and Classical orchestra performed on dynamic period instruments.

The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra (ARCO) which specialises in Historically Informed Performance or ‘HIP’ – performed its second concert in the 2017 concert season. A superb Romantic and Classical program of Gioachino Rossini and Franz Schubert first time performed on beautiful period instruments in the perfectly intimate City Recital Hall.    

Sadly Richard Gill AO was unable to conduct this night’s performance due to his sudden indisposition. He was replaced on very short notice by the talented guest concertmaster Jakob Lehmann. We sensed from the start that we were in very capable hands. His passion and leadership shone through navigating the orchestra to its splendid finale.

Lehmann is currently concertmaster of the wonderful Anima Eterna Brugge and one of his chief interests is period performance, mostly of the 19th and early 20th Centuries, aptly stepping into Richard Gill’s significant musical shoes. Kudos to Lehmann for having lead ARCO to such a fine performance.   Continue reading AUSTRALIAN ROMANTIC AND CLASSICAL ORCHESTRA: ‘UNFINISHED ROMANCE’ @ CITY RECITAL HALL

ACO SOLOISTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

This very exciting concert blended world premieres and nineteenth century Romanticism in a program of six relatively short works.

The program featured performances by three soloists – violinists Satu Vanska and Glenn Christensen and cellist Timo-Veikko Valve.

Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Andante (for her 1931 String Quartet) opened the concert. It began slowly almost eerily with sharp, spiky, dissonant, shimmering strings. The piece was intense and atmospheric and filled with moments of calm and jarring disharmony. The ACO’s renowned precision for detail was on show in terms of phrasing, articulation and the ability to keep body movement to a minimum.

Vivaldi’s Concerto in G minor for two violins and cello with a glittering, crisp and precise performance displayed the ACO’s ability to be vigorous and exact, particularly in the opening movement. After a soft, rather tentative and slow start, the piece turned into something quite  tempestuous, though one section sounded like delicate raindrops. Continue reading ACO SOLOISTS TAKE CENTRE STAGE @ CITY RECITAL HALL

LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE

 

Celloist David Pereira. Images by Steven Godbee

One hundred years after the First World War, bullets, bones and bombs are still being discovered by farmers in the fields of France. They remind us of the men of Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Germany, and France who died so painfully in the trenches in the rain and mud.

I was privileged to be at this latest Live at Lunch concert and hear this luminous, soulful performance.

The marvellous quartet of musicians consisted of Jane Rutter on flute, Tamara-Anna Cislowska on piano, David Pereira on cello and Christopher Lantham ( the director of The Flowers of War) on violin. Rutter wore a striking kimono/suit like outfit in turquoise and black the other performers were in orchestral black. Continue reading LIVE AT LUNCH : MONET : THE FLOWERS OF WAR @ THE CONCOURSE

HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ THE CONCERT HALL

This is the first time the Hong Kong Philharmonic has visited Australia in its 43-year history. Its 2017 Tour was led by internationally-renowned conductor maestro Jaap van Zweden, Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic since the 2012/13 season, who conducted with elegance, aplomb and a terrific sense of timing and phrasing

The ambitious programme included the Australian premiere of Quintessence, a new work by Hong Kong composer Dr Fung Lam as well as Mozart’s Violin Concerto no. 4 and Mahler’s Symphony no. 1.

The opening work Dr Fung Lam’s Quintessence which tries to define and express the Buddhist ideas of striving towards one’s highest goals and attainment. Fung Lam is the orchestra’s Director of Orchestral Planning and the first Hong Kong composer ever to be commissioned by the BBC.
Continue reading HONG KONG PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA @ THE CONCERT HALL

OMEGA ENSEMBLE : SONGS FROM THE BUSH @ THE UTZON ROOM

 

Above : Composer of Songs From The Bush, Ian Munro. Featured image : Omega Ensemble clarinettist and Co-Artistic Director, David Rowden.

Omega Ensemble again presented a chamber music concert in the delectable Utzon Room setting which championed works combining the clarinet with string quartet.

David Rowden’s seamless and sonorous clarinet tone across all instrumental registers and compositional style spoke beautifully to us throughout the event, sensitively supported by the Omega Ensemble strings.

The five versatile musicians blended expertly in an eclectic programme featuring two recent Australian works. A rarely heard clarinet quintet from the late nineteenth century was introduced to the audience and a popular Mozart string quartet was thrown elegantly into the mix. Continue reading OMEGA ENSEMBLE : SONGS FROM THE BUSH @ THE UTZON ROOM

MET ORCHESTRA #2 : FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Precision, a wide spectrum of nuance and continued fine rapport as an orchestra allowed formidable expression throughout TMO’s latest Met Concert, entitled FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE at the Eugene Goosens Hall, the ABC Centre.

Getting the event off to a flying start was the overture to Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Ludmilla. A successful choice to initially energise the atmosphere, this piece rocketed out at a brisk pace.
In this way the concert was given an exciting opening from one of the fathers of traditional Russian music. TMO’s track record of excellence in delivery of dramatic musical moments with directness and solid character continued here.

Continue reading MET ORCHESTRA #2 : FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa have reunited for a glorious blend of Baroque music and circus at the City Recital Hall.

The performance was inspired by the Brandenburg’s ARIA Award-winning CD Tapas, which includes plenty of percussion, guitar and theorbo, and lashings of violin bravado, with music by Albéniz, Merula, Murcia, Martinez and more.

The two special guests were Baroque guitarist Stefano Maiorana from Rome and soprano Natasha Wilson from New Zealand making her Australian debut.

Circa’s artistic director Yaron Lifschitz’s choreography astutely blended sensational dazzling solos and breathtaking ensemble routines while always harmonising with the spirit of the music. It was a fluid combination of tumbling, gymnastics, balancing and aerial numbers , in various jaw-dropping sections making you blink and go “ I see it but I don’t believe it“. Dangerous dives, throws and catches were included as well as feats of strength and daring as well as sometimes triple-level human pyramids. Continue reading SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL

AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE PRESENTS MELVYN TAN AND HAYDN’S PARIS @ CITY RECITAL HALL

 

Join the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE) and Artistic Director Skye McIntosh as they present one of the world’s greatest forte-pianists, Melvyn Tan, in a program inspired by the beauty and romance of classical Paris.

Melvyn Tan, a pioneer of performance on historical instruments is renowned for his ‘silvery virtuosity’.  Exploration, insight and imagination are vital ingredients in Melvyn Tan’s blend of artistic attributes.

Tan will perform the Mozart concerto No.18 in B flat major, written for the Parisian pianist, Maria Theresa von Paradis.

The Ensemble will also present the Australian premiere of a symphony by Chevalier de Saint-Georges, the legendary African Parisian violinist, director, swordsman, soldier and composer, known as The Black Mozart. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE PRESENTS MELVYN TAN AND HAYDN’S PARIS @ CITY RECITAL HALL