The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s latest concert, Haydn, Mozart & Friends, confirms what I have long suspected.
To be a musician with the orchestra or a guest artist at one of its concerts two criteria are essential. You must be an exceptional musician and you must have excellent stage presence. These traits were clearly evident on the opening night of the concert at Melbourne’s Recital Centre.
Jamie Hey, the Brandenburg’s principal cellist since 2002, quickly developed a rapport with the audience before presenting Haydn’s C Major Cello Concerto. Extremely enthusiastic, lengthy applause from both the audience and orchestra followed his presentation of this piece and an encore performance of Bach’s Cello Suite.
The other soloist on the night, Belgian natural horn player, Bart Aerbeydt, won over the audience when he described the natural horn as the ‘mobile phone’ of yesteryear. His illustration of how the horn was used to communicate messages about the health of wildlife attracted many laughs. His chat with the orchestra’s artistic director, Paul Dyer, also revealed a little of the history of the natural horn and how it’s played. He then illustrated his musical skills by presenting Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4 and an encore piece, Anton Reicha’s Canon No. 3 24 Horn Trios – Op 82, with ABO horn players Dorée Dixon and Darryl Poulsen.
Learning about the horn was one of several of the concert’s `educational experiences’. In introducing members of the orchestra’s wind section’s performance of the Harmoniemusik from Mozart’s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio – Dyer explained the history of small bands of wind players, known as Harmonies. He also talked about the role they played in high society, which included impressing others.
We also learnt more about this particular Mozart opera. Needless to say the eight Brandenburg musicians gave an extremely enthusiastic performance.
The concert also provided an insight into Dyer’s planning of concerts. It seems he likes finding historical links between composers, people, events or places. In this case composers Mozart, Haydn and Cannabich were friends at various stages of their lives. All were brilliant leaders in their fields and all loved writing music for parties and events.
Cannabich’s Sifonia in E-flat also featured on the program and again provided all orchestra members the chance to show their skills on period musical instruments and their joy in presenting Dyer’s specially selected pieces.
Haydn, Mozart & Friends is playing at Sydney’s City Recital Hall until September 23. Visit the Australian Brandenburg website for more information.
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