Sunday, November 13, 2016


Musica da Camera String Orchestra

Musical Director and Leader: Barbara Jane Gilby
Cello Soloist: Anneliese McGee-Collett
Holy Covenant Anglican Church, Cook ACT
Saturday 12 November

Review by Len Power

Under the direction of violinist, Barbara Jane Gilby, Musica da Camera presented a program in which four of the five items were arrangements or transformations of the composer’s original work.

The first item, ‘Charterhouse Suite For Strings’ by Vaughan Williams was written for piano in 1920 and arranged for strings by musicologist, James Brown.  It’s a characteristic Vaughan-Williams work, rich and melodic, and it was played with great feeling by the orchestra.  The second and fifth movements were especially appealing.

Couperin’s ‘Pieces en Concert’ were composed for harpsichord and were set for cello and strings by Paul Bazelaire.  Cello soloist, Anneliese McGee-Collett, played these beautifully with strong accompaniment from the orchestra.  The nicely reflective ‘Plainte’ and the sprightly ‘Air de Diable’ were particularly well played.

Arranged for strings by violinist, Lazer Gosman, four of Shostakovich’s piano solo ’24 Preludes Op. 34’ proved to be a great showcase for the orchestra and leader, Barbara Jane Gilby.  Constantly unpredictable, these haunting pieces were especially enjoyable.

Barbara Jane Gilby

Respighi’s ‘Pastorale’ of 1908 is described as ‘a free transcription of Tartini Sonata in A’ from the 18th century.  Before commencing, Barbra Jane Gilby explained to the audience the scordatura technique employed for this work.  Literally ‘mistuning’ in Italian, scordatura is a tuning of a stringed instrument different from the normal, standard tuning to allow for special effects or unusual chords or timbre.  The tuning of the lead violin in this way produced an unusual and pleasing depth sound against playing of the rest of the orchestra.

The final work presented, Norman Leyden’s ‘Serenade for String Orchestra’, commenced with a dramatic Prelude and was followed by a strong Fugue, a nicely ethereal Nocturne and a rollicking Cakewalk to finish.  The orchestra’s expert playing of this American work was a great finale to the afternoon’s concert.

This concert is being repeated at St. Peter and Paul’s Cathedral in Goulburn on Sunday 13 November at 2.30pm.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Artcetera’ program on Saturdays from 9.00am.