Part of the celebration of Beethoven’s 250th, (1770 – 1827 ) this is a most glorious concert with luscious , exquisite playing . Led by Kathryn Selby on piano, the trio also included Harry Ward on violin and Timo-Veikko Valve on cello in an all Beethoven program of three of the composer’s works – a special treat at any time, but especially given the current situation with the Covid pandemic.
Each work was given a fascinating introduction by one of the three players, putting the work in historical context.
First up was his Opus 1 – Piano Trio No. 3 in C Minor (1793-95 ) dedicated to Prince Karl von Lichnowsky .It is considered one of Beethoven’s earliest masterpieces and was worked on both in Bonn and Vienna .
The first movement was brisk and flurried , the piano skipping breathlessly , the violin and cello hurriedly joining. The melodies surged and eddied , quieter more lyrical moments contrasted with intense , earnest discussion. The piano cascades and ripples throughout leading to a flourishing finish. The cello has a few featured short solos , hinting at the development of Beethoven’s later trios. Continue reading Selby and Friends – Beethoven’s Ghost→
The wonderful concert that brought the ACO’s 2019 season to a close was entitled BRAHMS/DVORAK with the ACO in glorious rich and finely nuanced form under the leadership of Tognetti whose conducting was precise , vigorous and yet extremely expressive as well .
Andrew Ford’s ‘Fanfare for Neverland’ ( a world premiere) for solo trumpet as played by Visa Haarala up in the top gallery was a bright yet lyrical piece , with the trumpet slithering , skittering and sliding .
The Australian premiere of Andrew Norman’s Grand Turismo followed , using eight virtuoso violinists .It is a flurried , circular conversation between them , at times sharp and spiky then suddenly contrasted with soft lyrical segments and tiny pauses of stillness. The emphatic animated ensemble music has ominous pulsating under rhythms.
Brahms ‘Concerto for violin and cello in A Minor ‘(Double Concerto) made up the bulk of the first half , with the ACO enlarged to the size of a full symphony orchestra , a treat featuring Tognetti on violin and Timo-Veikko Valve on cello in an extraordinary partnership, Helena Rathbone beating time when Tognetti was playing . The entire work crackled with tension.
The first movement began stridently Valve on cello passionately , elegantly ‘singing’ then becoming fiery. lighter flowing sections were contrasted with scurrying orchestral swells .A duet between Tognetti and Valve was hovering lyrical and humming. It was then Tognetti’s turn to ‘ sing’ on the violin in an eloquent , heartbroken fragile solo with the Orchestra dynamically accompanying. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : BRAHMS AND DVORAK @ CITY RECITAL HALL→
A magnificent , many layered concert that had this reviewer in raptures at times .It was also full of contrasting but associated sounds .At times aspiring to be futuristic it is also a glorious celebration of Bach ( and Dean’s ) music. Richard Tognetti, Erin Helyard, Brett Dean and ACO Principal Cello, Timo-Veikko Valve are all featured .
The stage as the audience enters is set with a delicate candle, harpsichord and organ.
The concert opens with Tognetti’s spellbinding performance of BACH’s Sonata No.2 in A minor for solo violin, BWV1003: III. Andante that was haunting and compelling , powerful and hypnotic.
Bachs Sonata for Violin and Harpsichord No.2 in A major, BWV1015 15 I. Dolce II. Allegro III. Andante un poco IV. Presto followed .The work is a trio sonata , the first movement soaring and flowing with delicate celestial music played by Helyard on the organ , Tognetti on violin which changed to a discussion between the two. The second movement was brisk , crisp and precise with Helyard on harpsichord and Timo-Veikko Valve on cello .The third movement , circular and floating, – with Helyard with one hand on the chamber organ , the other on the harpsichord , all three performers exchanging thoughts .Tognetti led the discussion though , like a showy tenor . The final movement ( Helyard back on harpsichord) had an explosive opening and was bustling and thrumming to the dynamic conclusion.
The trio were joined by violist Atte Kilpeläinen for segments from Bach’s Three-Part Inventions, or Sinfonias, for keyboard interspersed with Gyorgy Kurtag Signs, Games and Messages: Hommage à J.S.B. 2 .The atmosphere of the single candle light ( with the glowing screens of the performer’s tablets) was drastically changed with the use of a vertical flaring fluorescent light, that identified the Kurtag sections .There was also a piece by Marin Marais’ – Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviève, given a most vivacious , robust performance with rather boisterous cello . The music ranged from swooping and swirling , bubbling and circling , to infectious dance rhythms, fiery, sharp percussive segments all leading to the cascading , rippling yearning achingly eloquent conclusion , Bach’s Chorale Prelude “Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ”, BWV639 3.
Very atmospheric , Brett Dean’s Approach (Prelude to a Canon) was first after interval , its Australian premiere , a commission by the Australian Chamber Orchestra and the Swedish Chamber Orchestra , with Atte Kilpeläinen leading , Hellyard on harpsichord and cellists Valve, Julian Thompson and Melissa Barnard, and Maxime Bibeau on bass .At times it was sharp and spiky , trembling and oscillating , other times scampering , building to a crescendo then a softer , quieter end , lead by Dean and Kilpeläinen , the others quivering underneath.
The final work was Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.6 in B-flat major, BWV1051 14 I. [Allegro] II. Adagio ma non tanto III. Allegro notable for the major viola parts and absence of violins.
The first movement was crisp, cold and very precise almost like intergalactic sounds beamed from a satellite disc.The second movement was tender , lyrical and eager with Helyard moving between organ and harpsichord , Kilpeläinen and Dean interlacing their melodies.The final movement was sprightly almost dancelike in its melody, with fast and furious violas , the cellos and double basses far more restrained.
While perhaps there were few performers on stage , this was an intrepid , gargantuan performance.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s INTIMATE BACH tours nationally 19-30 October 2019
Running time two hours including interval
This concert explores the music of Clara and Robert Schumann and their devoted friend, Johannes Brahms.
ACO principal cellist, Timo-Veikko Valve and virtuoso young Australian violinist Grace Clifford join Artistic Director/pianist Kathryn Selby, AM for a program of great Romantic Piano Trios and a special duo to celebrate the 200th birthday of Clara Schumann.
This program encapsulates the powerful story of 3 giants of the classical music world whose love and friendship has fascinated us to this day.
DATE FOR THE DIARY
Tuesday 7 May at the City Recital Hall, 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney
For more about Selby & Friends: Love and Devotion, visit Find us on:YouTube | Facebook
Intimate Mozart indeed. This was a ravishing concert full of superb playing.
The concert was a small scale recital, the ACO being represented by Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and three featured principals: second violinist Helena Rathbone, cellist Timo-Veikko Valve, and guest viola player Florian Peelman.
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→
Those of us lucky enough to be in the audience for this concert were treated to an angelic aural feast. Led by Tognetti and with featured soloists Timo –Veikko Valve on cello and Yevgeny Sudbin on piano the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) played sublimely.
As others of my colleagues have remarked this concert could be subtitled, ‘In the key of C’. Most of the program was heavenly, ravishing music by Beethoven but it also included the Australian premiere of Jonny Greenwood’s Water. Tognetti conducted dynamically and enthusiastically when not performing solo on the violin. The Orchestra was supplemented where required with extra orchestral members , meaning we heard a full wind section, brass and timpani. Continue reading ACO: Tognetti’s Beethoven→
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