Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Canberra Sinfonia and soloists showcase Mozart concertos

"Mozart Concerto Gala"

Canberra Sinfonia with guest soloists

Lucy Macourt - violin

Alison Mountain - flute

Rowan Phemister - harp

Wesley Uniting Church, Forrest ACT

Saturday April 2, 2022

Reviewed by Tony Magee

COMPOSED in 1775 in Salzburg, the 19-year-old Mozart is thought to have written his fourth violin concerto with himself in mind as soloist. It is known that Italian violinist Antonio Brunetti (1744 - 1786) later championed the piece, along with others by Mozart.

Violin soloist Lucy Macourt played with conviction and style, filling the church with a rich and sonorous tone, brightly uplifting and joyous.

Canberra Sinfonia with violin soloist Lucy Macourt. Photo: Peter Hislop

Duet passages between the soloist and first violin were played with feeling and warmth.

Macourt played all three cadenzas with lyrical and heartfelt emotion, capturing the 18th century style beautifully, projecting into the room with ease.

The final Rondeau movement showcased her ability to explore and deliver the joyful, almost playful texture of the music. Mozart must have been in a happy place when he composed this piece.

IMPRESSIVELY playing their parts from memory, soloists Alison Mountain and Rowan Phemister delivered a delightful and polished rendition of Mozart’s “Concerto for Flute and Harp”.

Savouring the sea of opportunity to play together and share the many glorious moments this piece offers, the two were almost as one at times, filling Wesley church with mellifluous musical phrases.

Alison Mountain, flute and Rowan Phemister, harp with Canberra Sinfonia. Photo: Peter Hislop

Mountain played with a beautiful, rich tone. Phemister delivered sparkling and flowing lines from the harp, richly supporting the flute at times and at others showcasing sparkling melodic phrases.

The first movement also featured excellent pizzicato accompaniment from the string section of the chamber orchestra.

The second movement features one of Mozart’s most beautiful and treasured melodies, beginning with an introduction by the orchestra, taken over gloriously by the soloists. The musical communication between them was a fascination to watch and was a key factor in the success of this performance, particularly evident in the lush and flowing cadenzas.

The third movement was bright and airy with excellent projection from the soloists, the harp coming through with greater conviction this time.

The program suggested there would be two oboists, but only one was present for this performance. Never-the-less, the eight players of Canberra Sinfonia were confident in delivery, with good ensemble work, albeit with some tuning and intonation blemishes along the way which need to be addressed.

The large audience rewarded the players with well deserved enthusiastic applause.

This concert marked yet another triumphant return to quality live music performances in our national capital.

First published in Canberra City News On-line Edition, April 3, 2022