The latest wonderful concert by the Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra has just completed a national tour and was filmed at the City Recital Hall and then streamed by the Australian Digital Concert Hall.

Co-directed by Rachael Beesley and Nicole van Bruggen the ARCO specialises in historically informed performance of late 18th- to early 20th-century orchestral and chamber music repertoire on period instruments.

This program consisted of two pieces : Joseph Eybler’s String Quintet in D Major and Franz Schubert’s Octet in F Major, D.803.The exquisite playing was passionate, accomplished and assured and paid close attention to the musical text and structure. It felt intimate and intense and there was great rapport between the ensemble.

Eybler’s piece began with a rich, oozing opening then featured fast and furious scurries on the strings with an underlying rhythm on the double bass.The  quivering violin spoke urgently for a moment then the thoughtful but brisk ensemble discussion , with its repeated circular melody , continued.

The mood then changed to eloquent, elegant and rippling, shimmering and bubbling with emphatic exclamations. Fiery discussion shifts to thoughtful, while the music became buzzing and fluttering with flourishes. Delicate pizzicato led to the spiky, dynamic conclusion.

After interval, the six string players were supplemented by clarinet, horn and bassoon for Schubert’s Octet in F Major, D.803 – in a rich and multi layered performance. The music was tempestuous and complex , with luxurious melodies and an atmosphere of yearning and affliction .The opening movement cascaded , bubbled and almost tripped over itself at times .Throughout the rest of the work the music varied from haunting , lyrical and shimmering , insistently pulsating , to bouncing , leaping , flowing and scurrying .For the  Andante molto , the ensemble played a moderate , stately tempo that was taken developed and passed around .It was multilayered with an underlying pulsating rhythm. Flashes of serenity and shared intensity were displayed in the slow movement. The Allegro featured a fast ,furious and explosive cello which then led to the brisk tumbling , whirling brisk conclusion with a grand flourish .

RUNNING TIME allow 2 hours including interval

Photography by Robert Catto

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