Thursday, February 13, 2020


Stan and Monica Kornel

Wesley Music Centre
Sunday 9 February
Monica Kornel, harpsichord
Stan Kornel, violin, viola d’amore and pochette

Reviewed by Len Power

It might have been a farewell concert by leading music ensemble, the Sydney Consort, but these excellent musicians did not allow any emotion to get in the way as they delivered a superbly played concert for their appreciative audience in the Wesley Music Centre.

The Sydney Consort has been devoted to early music of the 17th and 18th century, as well as contemporary Australian music on period instruments, providing excellent historically informed music to a wide audience.  One of the ensemble’s visions has been to “revive” forgotten music and works by obscure composers, unpublished scores and rarely performed compositions which still deserve to be presented.  They are renowned internationally as well as locally in Australia.

Their farewell concert consisted of music that audiences had asked them to perform again.  The program included music by JS Bach, Handel, Castello, Vivaldi and Royer, amongst others.

Monica Kornel played on a French Double Harpsichord and Stan Kornel played violin, viola d’amore and a pochette.

Stan Kornel compares the pochette with the violin

The concert commenced with Bach’s sonata for violin and harpsichord.  This work with contrasting slow and fast movements was very well-played.  Especially notable was the depth of feeling in the playing of the third movement and the high energy performance of the fourth and final movement.

Other highlights of the concert included Handel’s viola d’amore Sonata which featured Stan Kornel’s mastery of this period instrument, Royer’s March of the Scythes, played with great energy and colour by Monica Kornel on harpsichord and an extraordinary performance of Michel Corrette’s Giga from Sonata in D Major by Stan Kornel on his tiny Pochette instrument made from the remains of a damaged violin.

There was also a fine performance of the Sonata by Dario Castello, a haunting work of great beauty, and their vivid and colourful playing of Vivaldi’s sonata was delightful.  Ground after the Scotch Humor, by Nicola Matteis was played with great energy and precision, bringing this fine concert to a close.

With his characteristic quiet humour, Stan Kornel thanked the audience for their support over the years and he and Monica left the stage to enthusiastic and heart-felt applause.

Photos by Peter Hislop

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 10 February 2020

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on the Artsound FM 92.7 ‘In the Foyer’ program on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3.30pm.