Tag Archives: Handel


A musically lush, lavish, very powerful concert exquisitely played. Under Paul Dyer’s direction the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra gave a very moving musical feast, at times sombre, at other times joyously explosive.

Corelli, a renowned violinist, wrote Twelve Concerti Grossi now today viewed as the best and earliest examples of this style. In his Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6 No. 4 adagio with its exquisite, pulsating ebbing and flowing strings,  you could almost hear the tears drop with Paul Dyer’s harpsichord rippling. The allegro, however, was bright and joyous with a dancelike atmosphere and, at times, an almost galloping melody with frantic strings. The piece included the use of two Baroque trumpets and sackbuts. 

The Corelli Concerto Grosso in D major, Op. 6 No. 7 had a stately yet emphatic opening and included the use of the trumpets. The allegro section was slower, more refined and thoughtful with its entwining theme. The adante was glistening, glowing and palpitating with its circular melody. The Vivace featured Lee-Chen in fiery short solos and a spirited discussion with the rest of the Orchestra. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : HANDEL’S ROME : AN EXQUISITE CONCERT


Celebrating chamber music from the English and French Baroque, ‘Ayres & Graces’ by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra featured striking images curated by Australian designer Silvana Azzi Heras projected as background on a stage-wide LED screen behind the musicians with a period music program that spans both sides of the English Channel. We travel to the court of the Sun King Louis XIV in France and Charles 11 in London. The concert was curated and directed by Principal Baroque Flute and Recorder Melissa Farrow. (Artistic Director Paul Dyer was in the audience.)

This performance saw both the audience, heavily reduced in number, temperature checked and Covid spaced and the Orchestra also affected – here reduced to Farrow and Mikaela Oberg on flute and recorders, Rafael Font on violin, Marianne Yeomans on viola, Anton Baba on baroque cello and viola da gamba, and Tommie Anderson on theorbo, baroque guitar and archlute – and spread evenly across the stage. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : AYRES AND GRACES


This was a marvellous concert with a major focus on Handel’s music that showcased some extraordinary young talent , giving us a glimpse of Baroque performance of the future.

Under the dynamic direction of Paul Dyer the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra was in fine form and the young guest soloists had a delightful rapport with them. Christian Li has already won the Junior Prize at the prestigious Menuhin Competition in Geneva, and Annie Gard ( violin) and Madison Nonoa ( soprano) are also creating a sensation across London, New York and Europe .

First up was eleven year old Christian Li from Melbourne in a dazzling performance of Halvorsen’s Passacaglia for violin and viola after Handel with Shaun Lee Chen in a shimmering, quivering, spiky performance that was fiery and darting , leaving the audience amazed. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA NEXT GENERATION BAROQUE @ CITY RECITAL HALL


Much fun was had by all in this glorious concert, where we can pretend we are at the Royal Albert Hall in London. As always it featured popular classics and stirring British patriotic music. Willoughby Symphony was joined by the Willoughby Symphony Choir (including a few students of the Barker College Senior Choir) and the talented artists from Pacific Opera, all dynamically and enthusiastically conducted by Dr Nicholas Milton .

First up was a brisk, stirring rendition of ‘Pomp and Circumstance Military March No. 4’ by Edward Elgar. Then came Henry Wood’s ‘See the Conquering Hero Comes’, from his work about the Battle of Trafalgar, with the melody familiar to church goers as the hymn ‘Thine Be The glory’ Risen Conquering Son’, but here without libretto .It opened with delicate woodwind then swelled to encompass the whole Orchestra.

‘Zadok the Priest’ by Handel, with its association with every British coronation since 1727,  was next with its pulsating , throbbing strings and the choir a huge wall of sound that tumbled and bubbled. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA:  LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS @ THE CONCOURSE 


A thrilling , dazzling concert that had the audience cheering at the end. A single chance to hear special guest Valer Sabadus, who is well established within the ranks of the world’s top countertenors. Sabadus shot to international fame in 2012 with his outstanding interpretation of the role of Semira in Leonardo Vinci’s opera Artaserse at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, Opéra Royal de Versailles, Theater an der Wien in Vienna and the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. He has since enjoyed rave reviews and engagements throughout Europe in both opera and concert repertoire.

Erin Helyard conducted and led the Orchestra of the Antipodes who were in magnificent form.

Tall dark and handsome Sabadus was astonishing and charismatic and in fine glowing form with a powerful, burnished top register.

First we heard the Orchestra play Caldara‘s rich, flowing,  thoughtful yet festive Introduction to his La morte d’Abel beginning with soft violins and building to the entire Orchestra .

Then Valer appeared for Caldara’s Quel buon pastor son io from La morte d’Abel with its shimmering strings in the Orchestra backing his ravishing tone and his passionate voice that leapt and soared .His sustained notes throughout the entire concert were amazing yet precisely controlled.

Handel’s Gran tonante, Giove immenso from Parnasso in Festa was a bubbling display of virtuoso coloratura fireworks , leaping and darting with the Orchestra on pulsating strings in a circular melody acting as a dramatic accompaniment.

Next was the Orchestra in Hasse’s Overture to Cajo Fabrizio with its galloping scurrying opening and strident horns. Rich, slower strings limpidly flowed stating a different melody. The two melodies are taken and passed around the Orchestra leading to a brisk lilting circular, almost waltz like pulsating yet abrupt finish.

Handel Scherza infida from Ariodante ebbed and flowed, melancholic and passionate. Valer was limpid and pure in voice but volcanic underneath at times in a rich multi layered performance..

Handel ‘s Venti, Turbini from Rinaldo had a flurried Orchestral opening , Valer shooting off shark spiky coloratura in a tumbling, leaping, dazzling display that was staccato and dynamic leading to the triumphant conclusion. .

Hasse ‘s Overture to Didone abbandonata opened the second half with its emphatic horns and scurrying, gliding strings.

Then came Vivaldi’s Vedrò con mio diletto from Giustino with its throbbing strings underlay saw  Valer dazzle in glorious form with his amazing, sustained notes.

Vivaldi ‘s Lo seguitai felice from L’Olimpiade featured bright flurries from the strings and a fast , staccato performance by Valer .

Hasse’s Overture to Senocrita ( Op 4. No2 .) was at first dynamic then became more reflective and at a slower tempo , finishing with sliding, circular melodies from the skittish strings.

Porpora ‘s Dolci, fresche aurette from Polifemo was delicate , gentle and fluid.with Valer in fine voice darting and tumbling, while Porpora’s Senti il fato from Polifemo was dramatic and powerful with explosive coloratura from Valer – another bravura showpiece.

There was tumultuous applause and the encore was from Handel’s Xerxes – Ombra mai fu, achingly lyrical and extraordinarily passionate.

Valer Sabadus with Pinchgut Opera was a special once only performance at the City Recital Hall 25 August 2019



Like many lovers of choral music, I have a real soft spot for Handel. His works for choir express the full range of human emotion from uplifting joy to poignant tragedy. Unlike that of his contemporary Bach, Handel’s music is no need of a revival because it has never gone out of fashion. Soon after his death, large scale concerts of Handel’s music were being staged in London, and his oratorios became the backbone of the English-speaking choral tradition in the 19th century (an amusing quirk of history, given that the German-born composer’s English was notoriously poor).

His best-known work, the oratorio Messiah, with its famous ‘Hallelujah’ chorus, is performed at least once a year in Sydney. Second in fame to this iconic earworm is his coronation anthem, Zadok the Priest, which opens with possibly the greatest crescendo ever written. The piece has been sung at every English coronation since its premiere in 1727 for the ceremony for George II and no composer is more closely associated with royalty than Handel. Continue reading SAM ALLCHURCH’S VISION FOR ‘A ROYAL AFFAIR’


Australia’s most in demand soloists join Leichhardt Espresso Chorus in the wondrous acoustic of Marrickville Town Hall to perform an epic tale of leadership to rival our times.

Performers: Leichhardt Espresso Chorus and Orchestra, Michelle Leonard OAM, Anna Fraser, Brad Cooper, Andrew O’Connor, Morgan Balfour and Nacelle Yeo. Also Simon Ellis on the Wurlitzer Theatre Organ playing the Arrival of the Queen of Sheba.

Sunday 2 July 2017 at 4 pm at Marrickville Town Hall.

$50 reserved
$45 unreserved
$40 early bird (available until 18 June 2017)
$30 concession


For more about #Solomon by Handel, visit http://www.espressochorus.com.au/
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