Photo Keith Saunders

This glorious concert by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, filmed in September at City Recital Hall Sydney, the latest in their Brandenburg One series, was directed by Stef Smith with production design by Elizabeth Gadsby  and was dedicated to Carla Zampatti.

There is a huge spacelike circular rig that can tilt, but the performance is dominated by the garden of blooms erupting onstage, at times almost dwarfing the Orchestra. Paul Dyer leads his ensemble most enthusiastically on harpsichord or organ. There is assured, precise, controlled yet at times passionate and joyous playing throughout with great attention paid to the nuances and structure of the music.

The concert is a celebration of Spring. We hear two vibrant works by Gregori, given their Australian premiere and also Roman and Venetian music by Corelli, Marini and Vivaldi. The filming was excellent with at times fascinating closeups of the performers.

Marini Capriccio Per Sonare il Violino con tre corde à modo di Lira, Op. 8 No. 60 opened the concert. Madeline Easton on violin was eloquent and intense, while Dyer rumbled accompaniment on the organ, joined by Tommie Andersson on theorbo. The music became rich and darkly layered, lyrically expressive, the violin quivering and fluttering with Easton bringing the Capriccio to a delicate conclusion.

Corelli’s ‘Ciaccona’, Trio Sonata in G major, Op. 2 No. 12′ was next, led by two James (Tarbutton and Armstrong ) on violin and Dyer on harpsichord. Tommie Anderson on theorbo established the rhythm and beat of the single movement chaconne of courtly accomplishment The violins flowed and skittered in a fast paced melody that became a round discussion.

Then we heard the fascinating pieces by Gregori, given their Australian premiere:-

Gregori Concerto Grosso in C major, Op. 2 No. 1 was off to a sharp, spiky, vigorous start by the strings section. It then ebbed and flowed, with a change to the violin becoming slower yet more emphatic .This was followed by a meandering melody which partly sounded like birdcall , then back to breathless allegro , where the music was practically sprinting.

Gregori’s Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 2 No. 2, guest directed by Matthew Bruce followed. Dyer enchanted on the harpsichord with his filigree playing which shimmered ,rippled and cascaded .The Orchestra was solid in its emphatic agreement This led to a violin solo ,elegantly pleading , then the Orchestra responding with richly layered thought .The violin suddenly went very presto , skittering and buzzing . On stage the Orchestra was swamped by a profusion of blooms .

Gregori’s Concerto Grosso in B minor, Op. 2 No. 5 was next with its imposing beginning .Dyer in this piece played both harpsichord and organ , quietly slipping between the two .It has an imposing beginning, with the violins leading the musical fireworks. Some of it had a teasing , jaunty atmosphere, and it developed into a question and reply session for both sections of the Orchestra.

Vivaldi’s Sinfonia in C major, RV 116 was the final work and the Orchestra was hiding in the conservatory of blooms. .Dyer this time was on harpsichord. Vivaldi used ritornello throughout the work .The Sinfonia began with a brisk opening segment which changed to slower and more reflective,  then twisted back to allegro. Dyer’s harpsichord solo was soft and delicate, then the Orchestra joined him in a slower, pensive segment – with the violins adding further musical texture by sounding like raindrops. This changed to sharp, refined, insistent violins and finished with a great flourish.

Marini Capriccio Per Sonare il Violino con tre corde à modo di Lira, Op. 8 No. 60
Corelli ‘Ciaccona’, Trio Sonata in G major, Op. 2 No. 12
Gregori Concerto Grosso in C major, Op. 2 No. 1
Gregori Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 2 No. 2
Gregori Concerto Grosso in B minor, Op. 2 No. 5
Vivaldi Sinfonia in C major, RV 116

Paul Dyer harpsichord, chamber organ
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

Baroque in Bloom premiered 5PM AEDT Saturday 20 November on Brandenburg One and will be available to enjoy for ticket holders for 7 days following the première date.

Running time: 40 minutes