Superior performances of Baroque masterpieces in Sydney

 AustraliaAustralia  Vivaldi, Corrette, Rebel, Dall’Abaco: Australian Brandenburg Orchestra/Paul Dyer; Brandenburg Choir; Siobhan Stagg (soprano); Timothy Reynolds (tenor); Timothy Chung (countertenor); James  Roser (bass). City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney, Australia, 2.9.2011 (ZT)

Antonio Vivaldi: Dixit Dominus RV 595
Michel Corrette/ Antonio Vivaldi:  Laudate Dominum de coelis.
Jean-Fėry Rebel: Le Chaos
Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco: Concerto a più istrumenti in G major Op.6 No 5

Celestial Vivaldi
, the current recital series of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra centres on the music of Vivaldi, and commenced with this recital. For the Sydney recitals, the Orchestra was joined by the Brandenburg Choir. As is typically the case for the start of a series, this opening performance was played to a full house.

The four Vivaldi violin concertos grouped under the title The Four Seasons is one of the best-known and frequently recorded items from the Baroque repertory. Less known is the fact that these four concertos were written to accompany four sonnets. Given that each sonnet is broken down onto three sections corresponding to a movement of the concerto, there is a belief that Vivaldi was their author, but few recordings of these four concertos include the sonnets.

An additional aspect of unfamiliarity with Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was revealed for many on the occasion of this recital: the French organist and teacher Michel Corrette arranged the Spring concerto as a motet for large choir. Spring was the best-loved of the Vivaldi concertos and this, together with it being a favourite of Louis XV, may have influenced Corrette.

This adaptation by Corrette is infrequently performed, rarely recorded but most memorable, and superbly executed on this occasion. The opening movement, an aria for soprano, is entirely new and does not use any of Vivaldi’s material, giving no hint of the imminent alliance. Other than an introductory section to the first and third movements, (which become the second and fifth movements of the motet) the structure of the originals is left intact.

The music by Rebel and Dall’Abaco although less familiar than that by Vivaldi, was complementary to that of their contemporary.

When excellent soloists, an outstanding choir, and dependable superior orchestral performance combine to interpret Baroque masterpieces, those fortunate to be present are musically elevated. Such was the environment of this concert, and not without its pleasant surprises.

Zane Turner