A most glorious concert of magnificent playing .The Orchestra were in fine, dazzling form giving a rich, multi layered performance.

We began with TELEMANN’s Concerto for 4 violins in G major, TWV 40:201 directed by Matt Bruce. Its long stretched notes and flowing melody contrasted with Bruce’s sharp spiky solo. The music changed to a brighter atmosphere then back to being played with gravitas. The rest of the work, with more of the Orchestra joining the quartet , was a strong , dynamic statement leading to a brisk conclusion.

Then we heard TELEMANN’s Ouverture-Suite in C major, Water Music, TWV 55:C3 composed for the centenary celebrations of the Hamburg Admiralty in 1723. (yes Handel’s far more well known Water Music was written roughly about the same time ).The Orchestra was led by Ben Dollman with Paul Dyer on harpsichord

The piece  celebrates the sea and life in Hamburg and over the ten short pieces that make up the work, the bulk of which are based on French theatrical dances of the period, ranges from rich, stately and energetic to dynamic, tumbling and galloping. Tellemann’s work evokes nautical images from a remote mythological past of wrathful sea gods, mischievous water nymphs and the rulers of the winds. At times it is gliding and refined others quite bubbling, boisterous and dance like .The woodwind features prominently in some sections.

The final piece Canarie Die Lustigen Bots Leute ( Merry Boat people) had the Orchestra percussively stamp their feet at times as part of the work, accenting the rhythms.

After interval we were treated to a glorious rendition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Op. 8 No. 1-4. led by Shaun Lee-Chen on violin. Vivaldi originally wrote sonnets and an explanation of what to listen for …

First , we heard Concerto No. 1 in E major, Op. 8, RV 269, “Spring” (La primavera) with its famous explosive opening In the second movement. The violas were like annoying biting insects and you could hear the dog barking and the stream flowing , The third movement was like a powerful sunburst, Lee-Chen giving a bravura virtuoso performance.

Next was the Summer Concerto No. 2 in G minor, Op. 8, RV 315, “Summer” (L’estate) where everyone is hot and you can feel the slow ,languid ,soporific heat haze. Lee-Chen’s solo was breathless and blistering.

Which was followed by Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “Autumn” (L’autunno) with its harvest festival , robust rhythms and Lee-Chen on violin getting faster and faster .The hunt is dynamic.

And finally Concerto No. 4 in F minor, Op. 8, RV 297, “Winter” (L’inverno) – you can hear the raindrops and feel the crunchy ice .There were pulsating accompanying undertones (dripping ice? ) and sharp spiky ice flurries. Lee-Chen’s solo on violin was a sighing breath.

The audience was ecstatic at the end, wouldn’t let the Orchestra go and there was a partial standing ovation.

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in Vivaldi’s Four Seasons is at City Recital Hall various dates 1-15 November 2019

Running time two hours including interval