|Photo by Helen White
Australian Haydn Ensemble
Thursday 10 February
Reviewed by Len Power
Founded in 2012, the Australian Haydn Ensemble is one of this
country’s leading period instrument ensembles, specialising in the repertoire
of the late baroque and early classical eras.
It takes its name from a leading composer of the late eighteenth
century, Joseph Haydn, when style was transitioning from Baroque to Classical.
To celebrate the Ensemble’s 10th anniversary, they presented “Mozart: Viennese Star”, a three part program of one string quartet each by Haydn as well as Boccherini and Mozart. These works were published close together but each is quite different to the other, reflecting the composers’ distinct voices.
The first work presented, Haydn’s String Quartet Op. 33 No. 5 in G major, begins with a joke with two bars taken from the end of a phrase heard later. The work has developed a nick-name, ”How Do You Do?”, because of this witticism. The ensemble gave it a fine performance full of warmth and colour. The Largo second movement was especially memorable.
|Matthew Greco and Karina Schmitz
The final work played was Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C major K. 465. Known as his “Dissonance” quartet, it was published not long after and was considered influenced by Haydn’s Op. 33 in 1785. The opening Adagio with its sighing, piercing dissonance is quite unexpected and the rest of the work contains beautiful melodies and a playful finale. The Ensemble played it with great energy, precision and obvious enjoyment.
The performers – Skye McIntosh (violin), Matthew Greco (violin), Karina Schmitz (viola) and Daniel Yeadon (cello) – all have formidable study credits and have busy performing and teaching careers.
Their performances of these works were exemplary and it was also fascinating to watch them playing. Their obvious love of music and the joy of playing it drew the audience in even closer and added another level of enjoyment to this fine concert.
This review was first published in the Canberra CityNews digital edition of 11 February.
Len Power's reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 in the ‘Arts Cafe’ and ‘Arts About’ programs and published in his blog 'Just Power Writing' at https://justpowerwriting.blogspot.com/.