“We will do onerous issues” Chris Howlett proudly introduced as he and his equally excited and energetic co-director Howard Penny welcomed the viewers to the elegant, historic Capital Theatre for the opening of the third Bendigo Chamber Music Competition. “We squeezed a pageant in between lockdowns” (in 2021), and with a dedicated staff of native residents, companions, volunteers and devoted downside solvers, preparations for this yr’s occasion have proven that “miracles typically do occur earlier than the music begins”. When equipment malfunctioned, Bendigo’s human spirit and muscle energy lifted the Kawai grand piano up the steps and on to the stage, downside solved, and at two days’ discover, with two artists unable to attend, concertmaster of Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Haveron got here in as a alternative for Sulki Yu, with violinist Rachael Beesley changing Grace Clifford, saving the day to generously full an thrilling staff of musicians. Miracles do occur in Bendigo.
On this historic venue, the elegant stage setting supplied a warmly satisfying view, with Donald Nicholson’s harpsichord including a festive Baroque presence. With sell-out reside live shows, lots of of viewers additionally engaged with this pageant, due to 5stream and Australian Digital Live performance Corridor, supporting the imaginative and prescient of Penny and Howlett to make BCMF a world class pageant.
A strong and stormy secular three-part cantata, Aria-Recitative-Alleluia, by Vivaldi opened this system. In Furore Iustissimae Irae – “’Righteous Rage’: we’re right here we imply enterprise” stated Howard Penny – featured soprano Chloe Lankshear with string orchestra and continuo in a vibrant and dramatic efficiency. Assertive, authoritative, with some touches of pathos, the ensemble delivered true Baroque expression in refined cadences, detailed dynamics and phrasing and successfully timed silences. Lankshear has a formidable wealthy, golden tone, and he or she confirmed most delicate and candy vocal work in a lyrical Recitative accompanied by empathetic, flippantly textured violin accompaniment. Within the Alleluia, ascending vocal traces confirmed Lankshear’s voice to be a very broad-toned and thrilling instrument, contrasting joyfully with the strings, however producing nonetheless a really fluid textual content. This was a fantastic pageant opening. And the stage setting had an important look!
Saint-Saens’ Septet in Eb, Op 65, written for an uncommon mixture of devices, reveals a simplicity and a preferred Parisienne appeal in a four-movement, virtually neo-classical type. The exuberant and joyful trumpet of David Elton added theatrical color and bonhomie to the ensemble, with ascending waves of arpeggios from Daniel de Borah (piano) including contemporary spirit to the numerous introductory concepts within the Preamble. The central part of Minuet turned a buoyant Romantic orchestral waltz with sweeping melodic themes and theatrical gestures, the Minuet part itself retaining easy classical rhythms, however French orchestral timbres. A stunning cello solo opened the third Motion, Intermede, main particular person devices and piano to precise lengthy statements combining in vibrant portraits of romantic sound. It was the ultimate Gavotte which featured shining working passages on the piano, skipping strings, and light-weight trumpet patterns – quasi Fanfares – with every main part accelerating into the homeward run. We felt that each one was utterly completely satisfied on this planet!
This Gala live performance was outstanding for its inclusion of the core staff of Competition musicians in a program of very totally different and thrilling works. With Dvorak’s compositions that includes in some BCMF occasions, his second Piano Quartet in Eb Op 87 was a well-placed finale. Pianist Amir Farid joined string trio Sophie Rowell, Tobias Breider and Howard Penny for a spirited and full expression of Dvorak’s sensible solo writing, expressive lyricism, and authentic folk-dance components. In his pre-concert welcome, Howard Penny expressed his delight at performing chamber music once more for the primary time in twelve months, however tonight the Lento second motion specifically gave the cellist a very expressive and melancholic solo. The Finale confirmed this ensemble to be an exemplary staff of world-class Australian musicians performing Dvorak’s masterpiece with aptitude, ardour, energy and excellent musicianship.
The satisfaction and heat of the extremely responsive viewers mirrored the recognition and success of this fantastically designed gala program.
Julie McErlain reviewed Bendigo Chamber Music Competition’s Opening Gala – Summer time Nights Collection, streamed reside from the Capital Theatre by Australian Digital Live performance Corridor on February 2, 2022.