THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA IN NOEL! NOEL ! FOLLOW YOUR STAR
CITY RECITAL HALL DECEMBER 2018
A most glorious concert full of the Christmas spirit , musically and vocally superb.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Choir exuberantly led by Paul Dyer were in rich , glowing form.
Special guest was magnificent Western Australian soprano Bonnie de la Hunty , returned from the Netherlands , who was in elegant , refined joyous voice .Her soprano was exquisite ,delicate scintillating and crystal clear.
This year Dyer talked to the audience only once and there was no audience participation involved. Musical styles ranged over 700 years from Gregorian chant to contemporary, seeking peacefulness and a centred stillness with a selection of songs and arrangements of favourites for a 13 member orchestra and 24 member choir.
The first bracket opened with Hildegard von Bingen (arr. Palmer)’s O euchari in laeta via – at times dancelike and shimmering , de la Hunty was in stunning angelic voice and the choir was rumbustious and celebratory .You could almost hear the snow flurries. Next came the dramatic acapella Gregorian Chant Rorate coeli / Veni veni Emmanuel with the male and female choirs alternating in counterpoint , answer and response.
Johann Crüger ‘s Nuch komm der Heyden Heyland opened with a stirring drumbeat.the atmosphere was that of a medieval /renaissance court with a boisterous dance like flowing rhythm. De la Hunty;s solo was captivating.This was followed by Johannes Eccard’s joypus and bouncy Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier
The second bracket began with Christopher Tye & Nahum Tate ‘s While shepherds watched , featuring an angelic solo by de la Hunty .Claudio Monteverdi ‘s tumbling , upbeat Laudate dominum , conducted by Dyer on harpsichord ,ended with a very showy and extended Allelujia.
The traditional (arr. Palmer) Gartan mother’s lullaby was warm and lilting , with a pulsating rhthym.de la Hunty sang softly and tenderly. In Francisco Guerrero’s Maria Magdalena we heard the ladies choir soaring voices , the men interweaving , all blending and cascading in a richly layered performance .
Next up was a fun ,quirky version of John Henry Hopkins Jr. (arr. Palmer) We three kings of Orient are , with tambourine , trumpets , organ , harpsichord and xylophone among other instruments .Big smiles all round.
De la Hunty in a fiery red and gold gown had a stunning solo in Jean-Philippe Rameau (arr. Dyer) ‘Ô nuit’ from Hyppolyte et Aricie which was quiet reflective and full of awe.
Traditional (arr. Palmer) O little town of Bethlehem featured trumpets up in the balcony and also included cymbals.The Orchestra for this had a rich, full bodied sound.
Alex Palmer’s A sparkling Christmas was fast and furiously scurrying , with emphatic rhythms leading to a breathless conclusion. For this piece the many lights suspended from the ceiling pulsated and flickered on and off.
Ēriks Ešenvalds flowing Only in sleep was hauntingly beautiful .One particularly noticed de la Hunty’s exceptional crystal clear pure voice in her solo .
The bubbling, joyous explosion of Handel’s ‘Let the bright Seraphim’ from Samson was a major highlight , a glittering showpiece for de la Hunty and her leaping coloratura fireworks .
Irving Berlin (arr. Rathbone) ‘s White Christmas was sung acapella by the Choir , a wonderful blending of voices , with appropriate snowflake lighting.
Adolphe Adam (arr. Palmer) O holy night was a very moving showcase yet again for de la Hunty.Tommie Anderson on Baroque guitar had a delicate, extremely moving solo in Franz Xaver Gruber’s Stille Nacht ( sung in three different languages! ) and there was also a violin interlude.
The concert concluded with a vigorous O come, all ye faithful absolutely bursting with Christmas spirit.
Running time roughly 90 minutes no interval.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in Noel! Noel 1 Follow Your Star runs at the City Recital Hall 12-15 December and is at other NSW venues too.
Hildegard von Bingen (arr. Palmer) O euchari in laeta via
Gregorian Chant Rorate coeli / Veni veni Emmanuel
Johann Crüger Nuch komm der Heyden Heyland
Johannes Eccard Ich steh an deiner Krippen hier
Christopher Tye & Nahum Tate While shepherds watched
Claudio Monteverdi Laudate dominum
Traditional (arr. Palmer) Gartan mother’s lullaby
Francisco Guerrero Maria Magdalena
John Henry Hopkins Jr. (arr. Palmer) We three kings of Orient are
Jean-Philippe Rameau (arr. Dyer) ‘Ô nuit’ from Hyppolyte et Aricie
Traditional (arr. Palmer) O little town of Bethlehem
Alex Palmer A sparkling Christmas
Ēriks Ešenvalds Only in sleep
Handel ‘Let the bright Seraphim’ from Samson
Irving Berlin (arr. Rathbone) White Christmas
Adolphe Adam (arr. Palmer) O holy night
Franz Xaver Gruber Stille Nacht
Traditional O come, all ye faithful
Paul Dyer Artistic Director
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Bonnie de la Hunty (AUS) Soprano