Judging by the ovation, the first piece on the program – Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.3 – hit the spot with all audience members at Melbourne’s Recital Centre! The second piece, Vivaldi’s A Concerto for Two Violins, was also well received. The audience also seemed to enjoy Bach’s Concerto for flute in A minor, although the use of a soprano saxophone instead of a flute has caused some discussion.
Causing far greater discussion was the piece after the interval – Max Richter’s Recomposed- Vivaldi: The Four Seasons which sees Richter taking the baroque classic and recomposing it for orchestra and synthesiser. As a result Australian Brandenburg orchestra artistic director and conductor, Paul Dyer, swapped his harpsichord for an Apple Mac and synthesiser.
It was a brave move for an orchestra which celebrates the music of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries using original edition scores and instruments of the period.
While the instrumentation is essential the same, with the addition of the harp, what is new is the inclusion of different electronic effects composed by Richter for each movement. These effects are played on a synthesiser. Different colored lighting was used during the performance to complimented the mood of the music.
Some in the audience gave the performance a standing ovation, a few shook their heads while others described it as fascinating! It was certainly the main topic of conversation after the concert. Those who weren’t great fans of the piece were, however, singing the praises of the orchestra’s playing of it. Feedback from this, and other performances given in Sydney, suggest this work may appeal most to a younger, less traditional audience.
But that’s the joy of Dyer and the Brandenburg Orchestra- they are always breathing fresh life into baroque and classic musical pieces. And Dyer is always so enthusiastic it is hard not to get carried away by his passion for music generally and the orchestra he co-founded.
The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra is presenting Vivaldi Unwired at the Melbourne Recital Centre tonight (May 18) and at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre on May 19. The Australian Brandenburg website has more details.
*Jenny Burns attended the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Vivaldi Unwired as a guest of the Orchestra on Sunday May 17.
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