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the sydney consort

Concert Series 2013

Bach & Annoymous

"Bach’s music is the only argument proving the creation of the Universe can not be regarded as a complete failure."

Emile M. Cioran (Romanian philosopher)

The Ensemble begin the 2013 season with the most celebrated music of the Baroque, the glorious music of Johann Sebastian Bach.

Bach wrote so prolifically that one tends to assume that he found composition easy. But a close study of his works reveals that, like Handel, he was reluctant to let an old composition be wasted if he could refurbish it. Therefore, for Bach the idea of writing concertos seems to have been inextricably linked with the practice of transcription and arrangement.

The Sydney Consort would like to present in this concert two of such cases. The concerto in F Major for harpsichord, two recorders and strings is better known as the Fourth Brandenburg Concerto, which had been composed along with five others in Cothen and dedicated to the Margrave of Brandenburg in 1721. The original concertante group included two recorders, and these Bach retained, while the violin part is transferred to the harpsichord. Another concerto with his own material (Concerto for two harpsichords) is the concerto for oboe, violin, strings and the basso continuo, which will be performed during this concert. Based in London, Jane Downer will join Stan Kornel in this Double Concerto.

Stabat Mater

"If God wanted to speak to men through music, He would do it with the oeuvres of Haydn, but if He himself wished to listen to music, He would choose Boccherini."

Jean Baptiste Cartier (French Violin Master)

“… whose works have been thoroughly proved and have stood the never failing test of time.”

"Stabat mater" is one of Christianity's most poignant creations: the lamenting Mary watches her son crucified on the Cross and the narrator pleads to share in her sorrow and gain Paradise himself.

A profound musical form that continues to move listeners in our time is the Stabat Mater. Luigi Boccherini’s masterpiece is unparalleled in its dramatic sweep and poignancy, probing the depths of human emotion & spiritual contemplation.

Boccherini is popularly known as the composer of a famous minuet from one of his quintets in which the first cello plays a role of notable technical demand. He also wrote a series of challenging cello sonatas, initially, it may be supposed, for his own use. The reputation of Boccherini rivaled that of Haydn, if the nickname ‘the wife of Haydn’ may be accepted as evidence of contemporary fame. He was a virtuoso cellist and worked first in his native Lucca and then in Vienna, before moving to Paris and thence to Spain, where he seems to have remained from 1768 until his death. He died in apparent poverty in 1805.

Anna Fraser, an outstanding performer and the Sydney Consort will present the original version of Boccherini’s Stabat Mater composed in 1781. The writing is of extraordinary individuality and seems to come straight from the heart. This unjustly neglected piece is surely one of the most remarkable sacred compositions of the era.

The Sydney Consort, this time performing on classical instrument in modern pitch (a’ = 440’Hz) with musicians from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Majestic Sackbut

"It should be blown by a skillful musician so that it may not imitate the sounds of the trumpet, but rather assimilate itself to the sweetness of the human voice, lest it should emit a warlike rather than a peaceful sound."

Mersenne (1636)

Bold & beautiful brass.

Nick and Scott are a virtuosic period instrument duo at the forefront of the early music scene in Australia. Their performances on sackbuts provide a wonderfully sonorous and magical sound.

The music for sackbut and brass, in general is always very interesting. The sackbut has a wonderfully sonorous and warm sound. In the combination with other instruments it sounds very unique and majestic. This program includes a rarely performed collection of early baroque Italian & Polish music, for example Adam Jarz?bski, one of the leading Polish composers of the seventeenth century. Jarz?bski – a composer and violinist of the Brandenburg Court in Berlin and the Chapel Royal of the kings of the Vasa dynasty in Warsaw. As can be seen from his extant works, he was a skillful composer. Our ensemble will present this versatile composer in a varied combination of brass and string instruments.

For the first time with the Sydney Consort, Fiona will be performing on her extraordinary Tenor Viol.

Passion & Reason

"The poet wishes well to the divine genius of Purcell and praises him that, whereas other musicians have given utterance to the moods of man's mind, he has, beyond that, uttered in notes the very make and species of man as created both in him and in all men generally."

Gerard Manley Hopkins (English Poet)

Our tribute to Purcell, Buxtehude, J.S. Bach and Handel's music features voices, violin, viola da gamba and harpsichord. These are the most intimate instruments collaborating comfortably with the human voice bringing together an amazing sonorous and warm timbre.

This program will explore some of the most dramatic and passionate repertoires for voices and strings. Evocative arias and instrumental music by Purcell, Buxtehude and Handel will reflect the composers passions, moods and emotions through music.

We are thrilled Craig will collaborate with our Sydney jewel, soprano Belinda Montgomery. These two great personalities will take us on a journey full of irresistible music with a touch of sensual melancholy and drama.

The Glory of the Organ

"There is nothing remarkable to playing the organ. You only have to hit the right notes at the right time and the instrument plays itself".

Johann Sebastian Bach

The Season concludes with a premier performance of the Sydney Consort with the church pipe organ. St Augustine's pipe organ was built in 1886 in England by William Hill and commissioned for the concert hall in Pitt Street. For a short time it was moved to St Carthage's Cathedral in Lismore, and finally was moved to St Augustine's Balmain. Only a small number of William Hill organs in original condition have survived in Australia. This famous English organ maker exported organs all around the world including the one in Sydney Town Hall.

Compositions for the organ and strings are the most innovative and musically diverse masterpieces to have sprung forth from the baroque period.

This program includes, works for the organ and strings, as well as the famous Adagio. Adagio is a neo-Baroque composition popularly attributed to the 18th C Venetian master Tomaso Albinoni, but was actually composed by the 20th C musicologist and Albinoni biographer Remo Giazotto and is based on the purported discovery of a manuscript fragment from Tomaso Albinoni.

Majestic and powerful pipe music will be performed by the world renowned Amy Johansen, one of Australia's most charismatic organists.