This was a glorious concert in which the ABO under the enthusiastic, energetic and precise direction of Paul Dyer glowed and were in tremendous form.
The concert was terrifically staged with most effective lighting , opening with guest star Lixsania Fernandez appearing solo in the spotlight then as the music required quietly joined by the various members of the ABO who had been waiting behind red lit screens. Tall , charismatic and model thin, striking, rather feline Fernandez hails from Cuba with reddish/purple hair . She wore several different elegant outfits during the concert. There was obviously profound rapport between Fernandez and the ABO and great enjoyment .
First we heard Folia Pasticcio by Corelli, Scarlatti and Marais which sounded as fresh as if it had been written yesterday. The music eddied and swirled .Fernandez on her viola da Gamba had a luminous , passionate solo and at one point Dyer on harpsichord had a rippling, delicate solo.
The ‘labyrinth’ of the title was the fiendishly difficult Pietro Locatelli’s 12th Violin Concerto in 3 movements from his Opus 3 set: Il Laberinto Armonico or The Harmonic Labyrinth. The composer described it on the score as “easy to get into, difficult to get out of” and Brandenburg’s Concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen dazzled, channelling his inner Paganini and giving an astonishing bravura performance in the almost impossibly demanding Capriccios.
ACO GRINGOLTS PLAYS PAGANINI
CITY RECITAL HALL OCTOBER 2018
The ACO under guest director and soloist Ilya Gringolts was in fine , inspired form giving a rich and varied performance . There was intense joyous rapport between Gringolts and the Orchestra , and the Orchestra obviously enjoyed performing . Gringolts made his name 20 years ago as the youngest ever winner of the Premio Paganini Prize and has dazzled and delighted orchestras and audiences ever since with his astonishing virtuoso playing. For this program he was not only featured soloist but guest director as well.
For the first half of the concert bearded and darkly handsome Gringolts wore a white shirt with what looked to be a colourful Aboriginal design in panels down the front. For the second half he was in traditional concert black.
First we heard CPE Bach’s String Symphony in C major , full of precise elegance, drama and contrasting complicated dynamics.The first movement had a very busy, swirling opening and was full or repeated circular rhythms .
The second movement was a soft piercingly exquisite lament, Gringolts on violin leading like a lyrical tenor , the Orchestra accompanying. The elegant third movement was full of interwoven convoluted scurrying and rich fluidly floating segments, tumbling towards the conclusion. Continue reading Australian Chamber Orchestra : Ilya Gringolts Plays Paganini→
This event, a collaboration between the ACO and Jennifer Peeedom , will leave you overawed and breathless at the savage beauty of nature and music. It is in a similar vein to the ACO’s 2012 multimedia project The Reef it is full of stunning visuals (the film is directed by Peeedom with Renan Ozturk as principal photographer) and also features bravura playing by the ACO in dazzling form as led by Tognetti, who has some dramatic , shimmering and fiery solos.
The work is an epic exploration of the often fraught relationship between humans and mountains which really began with the Romantics. The film is narrated by Willem Dafoe, with text written by Robert Macfarlane – whose book Mountains of the Mind inspired Peedom’s approach to this project.
The film itself is a poetic rumination on humans’ relationship with mountains and explores the nature of our modern fascination with mountains – WHY are we so captivated by them? but there is little detail conveyed in the narration – Although some of the issues explored in Peedom’s 2014 film Sherpa are briefly mentioned – instead , Dafoe asserts broad ideas for which the film provides breathtaking images. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : ‘MOUNTAIN’ @ THE 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 Dixonon 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
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”
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→
The ACO is celebrating its 40th birthday with a series of terrific concerts, in which they are performing with some of their best friends.
This concert featured an ACO in dazzling form and while violinist Richard Tognetti and Egyptian-Australian Joseph Tawadros, internationally renowned as a virtuoso of the oud, were keen to find hidden links between the Venetian baroque and the East, their main success was not to discover them but to create them.
The packed house absolutely adored this concert , the latest in the Live at Lunch series as devised, curated and performed in by internationally renowned flautist Jane Rutter.
This time Rutter wore a stunning long sleeved slinky dark blue long dress with silver beading cascading down the front. The dress had slits very high on both sides to reveal elegant black trousers .
For a charming introduction Rutter played two two Renaissance Dances – a ‘Galliard’ by Dowland arranged for solo flute by Rutter , and ‘Ballet’ by de Moy arranged for solo piccolo by Rutter , accompanied by her friends the Acacia Quartet led by soloist Lisa Stewart. The first was poignant, lilting and melancholy, the second was more dramatic and Rutter was stamping the rhythms with her feet.
After this the Quartet was properly ‘ introduced’ to the audience and we were then treated to a sumptuous , delicious version of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons ‘ – all four of them ,not just the overused ‘ Spring’ , with Rutter as featured soloist on her gold performance flute for ‘Spring’. It was a dynamic , enchanting performance. Composed in 1725 ’The Four Seasons ‘ is one of Vivaldi’s most popular works . Vivaldi’s original arrangement for solo violin with string quartet and basso continuo – similar to the Acacia’s line up – helped to establish the form of the concerto in musical terms. “Winter” is dotted with silvery pizzicato notes from the high strings, making us think perhaps of icy rain and sleet whereas “Summer” evokes a thunderstorm in its final movement, (which is why the movement is often called “Storm “ ).
Each season is developed in three movements, with a slow movement between two faster ones (and these movements likewise vary in mood and tempo among the seasons). In the ‘Summer ‘you could feel the heat and langour, in the ‘Winter’ movement the contrasts between fire and ice. The Spring movement was lyrical, one could almost say pastoral ,and you could hear the birds joyously calling. The Autumn section is meant to evoke the harvest and its celebrations. In the ’Winter’ movement there were shimmering , shivering sections for the violin .The finale was haunting and featured some ecstatic , soaring playing .
After that performance which was rapturously received, Rutter gave a short talk about the program and the narrative that Vivaldi proposed ( or , rather , ‘instructed’ ) for the work, highlighting the leitmotifs etc in each season to listen out for (eg the barking dog in the second movement of ‘Spring’ , in Summer the soporific feel , the dancing in Autumn for the harvest etc ) which was much fun.
Then came another Vivaldi piece ‘ Il Cardellino ‘ (‘The Goldfinch ‘) with Rutter on flute as the bird. It is in three movements, at first tweeting , exuberant and darting , the second was far slower and more melancholy , the violins being held rather like lutes or guitars and played pizzicato. In the third movement the flute was stronger again, shimmering.
Because of the rapturous reception, for an encore they repeated the slow movement from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons ‘Winter’, very passionately and eloquently played, this time with Rutter and Stewart sharing the melodic line.
The concert ran overtime and we adjourned for lunch, looking forward to the next in the series!
FOUR SEASONS AND A GOLDFINCH was a one off performance last Wednesday July 2 part of the Live at Lunch series at the Concourse Chatswood. Running time 90 minutes without interval.