The Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE) will be performing their latest concert ‘Haydn’s Dream and The Goldberg’ this Thursday night 8th October at 7pm at the Cell Block Theatre with the concert being streamed live.
The subject of dreams has long occupied the imagination of composers, poets, and artists throughout history. With this concert AHE explores these subjects with an intriguing collection of works including Haydn’s Dream Quartet, Bach’s Goldberg Variations and Beethoven’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s Tomb Scene from Romeo and Juliet. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE @ MELBOURNE DIGITAL CONCERT HALL→
This concert will see the Ensemble perform a rare chamber version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, along with a virtuosic Flute Sextet by Boccherini and Mozart’s much-loved String Quartet in D minor.
It has been suggested that Mozart may have written his string quintets K. 515 and K. 516 to impress King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia and to surpass the quintets written by Boccherini. If true, this seems to have gone un-noticed by both the King and Boccherini. Boccherini’s divertimento Sextet for Flute and Strings contains all the drama and textures we have come to love and expect from his music with its Spanish and Italian inspiration. Mozart’s String Quartet in D minor, described as one of his best quartets, will not disappoint with its achingly beautiful melancholic opening. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE PRESENTS BEETHOVEN 4→
Australian Haydn Ensemble opens its 2019 season with a string quartet program that celebrates Haydn’s love of the natural world.
In their first program, Artistic Director and violinist Skye McIntosh and the AHE Quartet explore Haydn and nature. Two of Haydn’s beloved string quartets, Sunrise and The Lark bookend the program. In The Lark, Haydn masterfully weaves the first violin part in joyous birdsong-like melodies that fly above the other instruments. The work finishes with a fiendishly difficult moto perpetuo.
At the heart of the program are selections from two of Haydn’s famous oratorios, The Seasons and The Creation.
The Ensemble presents movements from these in historical string quartet arrangements.
One of Haydn’s indisputable works of genius, the String Quartet Op. 76 No. 4 (Sunrise) closes the program. Although it was not nicknamed by Haydn himself, the opening bars of the quartet clearly evoke the image of daybreak.
Haydn String Quartet in D major The Lark Op. 64 No. 5
Haydn The Seasons for string quartet (selections) arr. Neukomm
Haydn The Creation for string quartet (selections) arr. Anon.
Haydn String Quartet in B flat major Sunrise Op. 76 No. 4
Above: Guest conductor and fortepianist Dr Erin Helyard with AHE Artistic Director Skye McIntosh.
In the history of Australian Haydn Ensemble concerts it has always been a special event when we have had the chance to hear the group in its extended orchestral complement. Collaborations with early keyboard and historically informed performance expert Erin Helyard have also been a highlight of any subscription series.
In a special end to the 2018 concert season, the Sydney audience was treated to both of the above. The concert was a strident offering rich in dramatic contrast, humour and dazzling execution. A stunning calibre of performance practice with charismatic eagerness to convey fine emotion, architecture and context of the music quickly and consistently endeared the works and performers to us.
AHE launched into the afternoon with an exciting reading of JC Bach’s Symphony in G minor Op 6 No 6. Following an interesting overview of the programme from Erin Helyard, this was a focussed and bold start to the event.
With Erin Helyard conducting from the keyboard, the Sturm und Drang sentiment was solid and contrasts well harnessed. The full bodied horn declamations were particularly effective throughout and their tone was well blended with the precision and crispness of the parts from strings and other winds.
This was an inspiring reminder of the expressive power and agenda of JC Bach’s music. It was a good choice by Erin Helyard to include in this programme alongside the colourful drama of the works of Mozart and Haydn. We could well benefit from the chance to hear more of JC Bach’s output in concerts in future.
Erin Helyard’s performances on the 2014 replica of a late eighteenth century Anton Walter fortepiano were as always a wonderful showcase for the fluid and unique tone of this instrument. The Piano Concerto No 12 in A major K 414 dates from Mozart’s time in Vienna The joy of Mozart inhis new environment plus the promotion of his pianism and more dramatic compositions such as opera is evident here.
The slow movement of this work is based on an overture by JC Bach, which is a good tie-in for this concert as well as an interesting link historically between the two progressive composers. AHE as led by Helyard as soloist from the keyboard helped us make our own parallels between the two composers’ emotional directness and ease of writing for orchestral forces.
This early concerto shone in the hands of Erin Helyard. Interaction with keyboard and orchestra was keen and intimate fortepiano voice was eloquent and well balanced at all times. Cadenza moments were especially poignant utterances endearing us further to this choice of instrument.
Such historically informed performance success from keyboard and orchestra continued after interval in the Rondo for Piano and Orchestra in A major K 386, her in its joyous restored manuscript version courtesy to the editing and research of Alan Tyson and Charles Mackerras. This true survivor of a single movement work restored from fragments various was performed vibrantly and gave us more seldom heard Mozart in a convincing and colourful expression.
To conclude the concert, the colour, rhythmic variety, skilled orchestration and humour of Franz Joseph Haydn’s much loved ‘Farewell’ Symphony was a timely way to conclude the 2018 AHE’s 2018 series. As well as fine Haydn playing in is atypical but compelling symphonic score from this orchestra’s namesake composer, the legendary conclusion with the parts stopping and leaving the stage was expertly updated here.
To emphasise the idea of impending vacation, as much of the audience would be feeling, a theatrical enactment of trekking, skiing, kayaking, diving partying and other holiday activities other than performing were brilliantly enacted by AHE members. Concept by James Eccles and Glen Hamilton brought this excellent concert and yearly concert season to an even more colourful and dramatic close than fine orchestral stage performance alone.
Renowned Australian baritone David Greco joins Australian Haydn Ensemble for a magical program interwoven with Schubert’s lieder and chamber music.
Schubert’s lieder are powerful and sublime. The Ensemble brings you a stunning selection of his most-loved songs in newly commissioned chamber arrangements for string quintet and baritone, interwoven with a selection of Soiree movements from French composer Felicien David’s Les Quatre Seasons, a series of moving yet almost entirely unknown pieces for string quintet with double bass.
David Greco, one of Australia’s finest baritones, has performed throughout Europe with cutting-edge early music ensembles including Freiburg Barokorchester, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, The Academy of Ancient Music, and Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.
Audiences will also have a rare opportunity to hear movements from Schubert’s emotive String Quartet The Rosamunde performed on period instruments.
The Australian Haydn Ensemble presents BOCCHERINI’S GUITAR. Be transported to Spain with a host of Latin-inspired works including Boccherini’s Fandango, Canales’ String Quartet and Haydn’s Seven Last Words.
Above : Period flautist Melissa Farrow. Featured image : Some of the AHE members for the 2018 season.
Australian Haydn Ensemble commenced its 2018 concert season by doing what it does best-giving its audience an intense snapshot of musical history in a varied programme. A quality arrangement of
a well known orchestral work for chamber music performance was also included. The works presented, all by Haydn, dated from consecutive years 1793, 1794 and 1795 and gave a fine
illustration of the composer building his reputation during working visits to London after 1791. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE @ THE UTZON ROOM→
The most recent CD from Australian Haydn Ensemble is an exciting release. Australian Haydn Ensemble : Beethoven Piano Concertos 1 & 3 – Chamber Versions appears after a cycle of all Beethoven concertos was presented during live concerts in chamber music format by AHE. It also marks the second CD release in as many years from AHE, following on from a successful recording debut in 2016 with The Haydn Album on the ABC Classics label. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN HAYDN ENSEMBLE : BEETHOVEN PIANO CONCERTOS 1 & 3→
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.
An energetic and enlightened example of a concert format from the late 18th century was welcomed heartily by the crowd attending HAYDN’S BRAVURA. The collaboration between the artistic director of the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE), Skye McIntosh and musical director Erin Helyard was dynamic as they led the ensemble with informed resolve and joyous music making in the Sydney Opera House’s Utzon Room.
SONGS OF REST was the second collaboration for 2015 between The Australian Haydn Ensemble and The Choir of St James’. The two groups also performed Bach’s ‘St John Passion’ in March.
In a nicely contrasted programme of works in Latin language, William Byrd’s expressive motet ‘Infelix Ego’ was surrounded by a different style of Mass from the brothers Haydn. The concert started with Franz Joseph Haydn’s ‘Missa Brevis Sancti Joannis de Deo’, known as the ‘Little Organ Mass’ (1775). Following the Byrd motet and interval, Johann Michael Haydn’s ‘Requiem in C minor’ was heard.
Haydn’s ‘Little Organ Mass’ was presented with the necessary clarity and simplicity of text delivery. As in both of the liturgical works, there was a superb balance between the orchestra and choir of fifteen singers. Shifting choral textures were equally well rendered. The vocal performances delivered strong tone colours and was rhythmically precise. Continue reading Songs of Rest – Australian Haydn Ensemble @ St James Church→
A concert experience with the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE) is one where the carefully and creatively structured programme both delights and educates. This concert, featuring period flautist Melissa Farrow is no exception to such a rule.
In this second concert of the AHE’s 2015 series we are exposed to the chamber music formats of string trio and flute quartet. These two genres alternate throughout the programme. We are presented eighteenth-century fare from well-known composers as well as compositions by Mozart’s lesser known flute-virtuoso contemporaries. Continue reading Mozart’s Flute-Australian Haydn Ensemble→
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