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 .
This is the latest joyous, astonishing collaboration, their third, between the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa that had the audience in raptures. Don’t miss it. The audience did not want to breathe or blink in case they missed something.
It is an inspired pastiche by Paul Dyer and Yaron Lifschitz, with music from 16th and 17th-century England and featuring the beautiful voices of sopranos Jane Sheldon and Lauren Stephenson.
The set design by Yaron Lifschitz, Libby McDonnell and Richard Clarke is inspired by the idea of a clipped formal garden at a stately 17th-century mansion : a green covered area represents the manicured lawn .The middle area has tumbling mats , there is a large blank screen at the back used for projections and a huge hoop. Various sized white plinths (which also become props) are included and the Circa cast are carried on as statues hidden under drapes. Peter Rubie’s lighting design is dramatic and atmospheric.
Happy Birthday to the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra! This year marks their 30th birthday and the season began with a glittering , joyous concert. There were many VIPS in the audience and the Orchestra’s playing under the enthusiastic and very energetic baton of Paul Dyer was in superb form . There were huge garlands of flowers across the middle balcony above the Orchestra .
Introductory speeches were made by Bruce Appelbaum the Managing director and then Dame Quentin Bryce .
We heard five of Bach’s Brandendburg Concertos. Written in 1721 the concertos were submitted to a possible patron the Margrave of Brandenburg and are a magnificent showcase to feature the musicians of the Orchestra on their period instruments and continual refinement of Historically Informed Performance style .
First was No. 4 in G major, BWV 1049 in three movements which featured recorders as played by Melissa Farrow and Mikaela Oberg. The first movement was bright and sprightly , the music leaping cascading and pulsating. Shaun Lee Chen had a fiery, insistent solo on his violin .The fluid music became a breathless dialogue for the ensemble.
The second movement was slower with a looping repeated melody and in the third the violins were energetic and emphatic with a featured very fast bubbly trio for Lee- Chen ,Farrow and Oberg on recorder , with another showy solo for Chen . Again a great dialogue ensued between all the ensemble leading to an emphatic conclusion. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA : BACH’S BRANDENBURG CONCERTOS→
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
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.
The cognoscenti were out in force at Sydney’s City Recital Hall. A quick 360 degree spin around the foyer and later at interval revealed that in attendance were Leo Schofield, Ann Sanders, Anton Enus, John Bell and Anna Volska, Helen Wellings, doubtless anonymous captains of industry and of-course the general music loving public.
A most glorious concert that had the packed house enraptured, The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra ( in double string orchestra format)and Choir combined forces to perform a richly textured dramatic concert that ranged over 400 years in an English musical journey mostly concentrating on works by Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Locke, Purcell, and Handel but concluding with a 20th century piece Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a theme by Thomas Tallis. They were enthusiastically and energetically conducted by Paul Dyer. Continue reading THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR: THOMAS TALLIS’ ENGLAND→
In this latest terrific concert by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO), the program for the evening consisted of four works, concentrating on the Classical period.
The concert began with a rarely heard Sinfonia by Mozart’s friend Christian Cannabich, who led the renowned Mannheim court orchestra which was to the 18th century what the Berlin Philharmonic is to today. Then there were two works by Mozart, and a Haydn cello concerto, superbly played by ABO principal Jamie Hey.
The Orchestra had as many composers as players in their ensemble and it set the standard for others to follow, increasing the orchestral range and nuance by their introduction of innovative bowing techniques and the use of rhythm and ascending climaxes which became known as the “Mannheim Rocket”.
The entire ABO was in fine, golden form as energetically led by the very enthusiastic Paul Dyer who was close to dancing whilst conducting on fortepiano.
The concert began with the rarely heard Sinfonia in E-Flat major by Cannabich that gave the concert a brisk, emphatic, sprightly start.
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”
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Circa have reunited for a glorious blend of Baroque music and circus at the City Recital Hall.
The performance was inspired by the Brandenburg’s ARIA Award-winning CD Tapas, which includes plenty of percussion, guitar and theorbo, and lashings of violin bravado, with music by Albéniz, Merula, Murcia, Martinez and more.
The two special guests were Baroque guitarist Stefano Maiorana from Rome and soprano Natasha Wilson from New Zealand making her Australian debut.
Circa’s artistic director Yaron Lifschitz’s choreography astutely blended sensational dazzling solos and breathtaking ensemble routines while always harmonising with the spirit of the music. It was a fluid combination of tumbling, gymnastics, balancing and aerial numbers , in various jaw-dropping sections making you blink and go “ I see it but I don’t believe it“. Dangerous dives, throws and catches were included as well as feats of strength and daring as well as sometimes triple-level human pyramids.Continue reading SPANISH BAROQUE : THE AUSTRALIAN BRANDENBURG ORCHESTRA AND CIRCA @ CITY RECITAL HALL→
In the lead up to Lent and Easter we are very privileged to have the Brandenburg’s glorious performances of Handel’s THE MESSIAH, enthusiastically led and directed by Paul Dyer with the magnificent Brandenburg Choir, four soloists and a striking, very unusual and effective staging by Constantine Cosi.
Handel’s Oratorio on the life of Christ is divided into four ‘scenes’ : Darkness to Light , The Dream , Shame and Mourning, and Ecstatic Light.
THE MESSIAH follows the story of Christ from birth to crucifixion and resurrection, but it also examines Israelite history, exploring the prophets who preceded the Messiah (especially Isaiah) and looks forward to the birth of the Church. There is no single dominant narrative voice and little use is made of quoted speech.
This was a marvelous, exuberant concert by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra as led by Paul Dyer AO and featuring the Israeli superstar of the mandolin Avi Avital who dazzled in a bravura performance .
Dyer emphatically led from the keyboard of his harpsichord. The Orchestra, for this concert trimmed to ten players, was in golden form, giving a performance which featured some lush, delicate playing and some finely nuanced phrasing.
Under the dynamic, bouncy direction of Paul Dyer the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra was in magnificent form and sizzled in this electrifying concert.
The Orchestra played with a warm , elegant tone on their period instruments and there was great rapport between Dyer, featured violin soloist Shaun Lee-Chen and the Orchestra. (Lee-Chen is currently concert master for the Orchestra.) Considered avant-garde in their time, Fasch , Sammartini, Telemann, and Vivaldi created some glorious instrumental music. This is a fabulous chance to hear unusual combinations of instruments in magnificent Baroque concertos played with great flair.
Challenging and exciting the latest concert by the wonderful Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, while as usual on their trademark period instruments, also featured an amazing saxophone soloist, two incredible violin soloists and a striking contemporary reworked version of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’.
Under the intense, dynamic and energetic direction of Paul Dyer the Orchestra was in glowing form and performed with a rich tone.There were snazzy lighting changes at appropriate points in the programme adding to the atmosphere. Continue reading Vivaldi Unwired @ The City Recital Hall→
This concert was a wonderful way for the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra to begin their 2015 season. Handel fans and lovers of Baroque music in general will relish this concert which was indeed ‘heavenly’.
The programme’s theme is music itself, built around Dryden’s Ode for St Cecilia’s Day. What one particularly noticed this time was the special organ with two angels in green and blue given a prominent place on stage, and unforgettable was the GIANT bouquet of lilies that graced the upper gallery.
This was a very exciting and captivating concert that in the first half looked at the 17th century European fascination with all things Turkish and in the second half we heard music from Greece and Turkey .
Under the energetic and enthusiastic direction of Paul Dyer, leading from the keyboard, the Brandenburg played exquisitely. Our narrator, Alan Maddox, looking severe in theatrical black, explained certain points , established context, explained various items and read letters from that period. He guided us on a spiritual and musical journey across Europe from West to East.
Supported by the superb playing of the magnificent Australian Brandenburg Orchestra,led by maestro Paul Dyer,on their period instruments,this particular concert was a delightful excuse to continue their 25th birthday celebrations and showcase the amazing, dazzling talents of guest director and performer, Dmitry Sinkovsky.
Sinkovsky performed on an exquisite Francesco Ruggeri violin made in Cremona in 1675, and made available to him by the Netherlands-based Jumpstart Jr Foundation. Most of the works performed were by Vivaldi, with Dyer energetically and enthusiastically leading from the harpsichord.
The selected works on the program were all extremely difficult and are rarely heard. The orchestra was superb and played divinely,- there was fine ensemble work and a glorious,warm tone. I agree with one of my colleagues who thought that the orchestra were shaken, stirred and inspired by Sinkovsky’s exuberant playing.
This is Sinkovsky’s first tour of Australia and the reception was rapturous. He is greatly in demand internationally, his brilliant career commencing following his graduation from the Conservatoire of Moscow in 2005. He is both a virtuoso violinist and an enthralling, dramatic counter tenor and both these talents shone through.Sinkovsky sings and dances as he plays, he conducts his own band and now he teaches violin and viola at the Moscow Conservatoire!