15 September 2014
Melbourne Recital Centre, September 13 and 14
Reviewed by Martin Duffy
This all-Mozart program from the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra featured works from key stages of the composer’s all-too-brief life. An expanded string section led by guest concertmaster Madeleine Easton produced a sparkling and impressively large sound. They began with the rarely performed overture to Mozart’s early opera Lucio Silla. The fast-slow-fast structure of its early sinfonia form showed the orchestra’s crisp articulations and wide dynamic range, with contrasting passages of fluid lyrical phrasing. Paul Dyer directed the first half from a copy of a period fortepiano rather than his usual harpsichord. It was a minor pity that its lovely sound did not penetrate through the ensemble more frequently.
Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp K299 featured soloists Melissa Farrow (period flute) and Marshall McGuire (period harp), their marvellous performance underscoring the depth of early-music talent within Australia. Farrow has perfectly centred pitch, a pure tone and she produces lovely interest without using vibrato.
Mozart’s beautifully conversational writing for the soloists flowed freely between both musicians. Playing on a copy of a smaller single action harp such as Mozart would have known, McGuire moved sensitively in and out of the spotlight, never overwhelming his partner. The lighter sound of this instrument, in contrast to its modern cousin, suited this combination perfectly.
Dyer’s enthusiastic direction produced brisk tempos in a vital reading of Mozart’s Symphony No 41 in C major Jupiter, K551. The slow movement’s contrasts of muted strings and period winds and the unfolding of the final fugue were both high points.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/music/allmozart-program-a-triumph-for-brandenburg-orchestra-20140915-10gtta.html#ixzz3DL6jAf3n