THERE was never going to be any mystery about what we’d see in the 2019 Canberra International Music Festival if director Roland Peelman had anything to do with it – it was always going to […]
MENTION “The Four Seasons” and just about everyone can hear Vivaldi’s music in their head.
In this concert, we were treated to the 2012 “recomposition” of this iconic work by German-British composer sound artist, Max Richter, who has become an influential voice in post-minimalist music.
Festival Strings, directed by Roland Peelman and with solo violinist Tim Fain, gave an excellent performance of this fascinating work.
Much of Vivaldi has been discarded and replaced by looping techniques resulting in a highly original work with the ghost of Vivaldi ever-present. Tim Fain brought out all the drama and colour in the solo violin passages. Winter was especially well-played by the whole orchestra.
The first half of the concert consisted of three works played by the Seven Harp Ensemble. “Harp Mantras” by Ross Edwards is an atmospheric work of great beauty that combines Australia’s unique country sounds to create a shimmering musical experience.
This was followed by the world premiere of a newly commissioned work by Mary Finsterer entitled “Four Interludes”. The four movements in this work were highly contrasting mood pieces, some reflective, some dramatic and all musically and emotionally well-composed.
The harpists gave a fine performance of this memorable work which was greeted with thunderous and well-deserved applause at the end.
The third item, Saint Saёns’ “Danse Macabre” was arranged for the seven harps by Tegan Peemoeller. It was an interesting exercise in arrangement, but although played very well, the result was a rather muted experience, losing much of the tension and drama of the original work.
The combination of the Seven Harp Ensemble and Festival Strings for the concert and the unique and contrasting works played resulted in a satisfying and very enjoyable concert.