music / Canberra Symphony Orchestra, ACTEWAGL Llewellyn Three, Llewellyn Theatre, July 18. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD
“WINTER Strings”, a cool-sounding concert by Musica Da Camera String Orchestra, was presented in the cosy Holy Covenant Anglican Church in Cook.
The well-chosen program of works by Warlock, Fauré, Mendelssohn, Handel, Sibelius and Vivaldi warmed the audience with fine playing under the baton of Jonathan McFeat.
The concert commenced with the Capriol Suite composed in 1926 by Peter Warlock. After a bright opening, the second quiet, reflective dance was especially well-played. The dramatic dances and finale that followed were vibrant and strongly performed.
Gabriel Fauré’s “Pavane” was written in 1887 for piano and orchestra. It can now be found in arrangements for many combinations of instruments. Solo guitarist Liam O’Connell presented it in an arrangement for guitar and string orchestra.
The arrangement was a good showcase for O’Connell’s talented guitar playing and, while the orchestra accompanied him well, the quieter guitar passages were a little lost under the full sound of the other instruments.
The orchestra then gave a strong and enjoyable performance of Mendelssohn’s “String Symphony No. 10”. They really brought out the full colour and emotion in the music in the dramatic sections of the work.
After the interval, the orchestra re-commenced with a well-played Concerto Grosso Op. 6 No. 2 by George Frideric Handel. It was very clear that the orchestra members were particularly enjoying playing this work.
The next item, “Impromptu Nos. 5 and 6” by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius proved to be the highlight of the concert. These two beautiful works are highly atmospheric and were played with great feeling and sensitivity by the orchestra.
The concert finished with a rousingly good performance of old favourite, “Concerto for Strings in G alla Rustica” by Vivaldi.
Now celebrating its 40th year, Musica Da Camera and conductor Jonathan McFeat gave the audience another highly enjoyable concert.