We are looking forward to the return of Elizabeth Wallfisch and the Wallfisch Band, who will be one of our ensembles in residence, and the stars of many of our most ambitious programs.
Starting on 9 May with the Europe Day Opening Concert, the 10 May 20th Anniversary Concert and the Bach Magnificat program, the Wallfisch Band will present major vocal works of Bach performed on the instruments of that period intertwined with the magnificent voices of the Song Company. These works, Bach’s Magnificat, his Cantatas BWV 19 and BWV 130, his Concerto for violin and oboe in C minor BWV1060, his Sinfonia In D Major BWV 1045, as well as Heinrich Biber’s Battalia op 61 and Johann Heinrich Schmelzer’s Lamento sopra la morte di Ferdinand III, will all be performed at 415 Hertz, a half step below modern pitch, using the number of instruments and voices that the composers would have been accustomed to.
Starting on Monday 12 May the Wallfisch Band, in collaboration with ACO2, will switch to classical era mode, as they prepare works by Boccherini and Mozart, again on the historical instruments of that period, now at 430 Hertz, a quarter step lower than modern pitch. Finally on Thursday 15 May, the Wallfisch Band and ACO2 will transform themselves into a Romantic period orchestra, again using the instruments of that period, now at 440 Hertz (modern pitch), in performances of the Brahms' Requiem as well as some Brahms' chamber works. We are going to recreate the first Australian performances of the Brahms' Requiem, singing it in English and using gut strings and romantic era wind and brass instruments.
This tour de force, playing on three sets of instruments in two weeks at three pitches, has not been previously attempted in Australia. The specialists have been assembled from around Australia and the world, and feature many Australian experts who are now resident in Europe. The underlying reason for this focus is that one of the less examined consequence of the First World War was that string players who were playing on gut strings found it difficult to obtain high quality strings due to shortages of material and the disruption of international commerce. By necessity, players began using steel strings and quickly adapted to using them. This movement of 100 years ago from instruments made largely of wood and organic materials, to models that were underpinned by steel, improving their power but reducing their colour and expressive appeal, has not previously been explored. To demonstrate the difference this change made, the Wallfisch Band and ACO2 will perform string works such as Edward Elgar's Sospiri Op. 70, Frederick Septimus Kelly’s Elegy for Rupert Brooke and Serenade for Flute, Harp and Strings and Herbert Howell's Elegy for Viola and Strings on gut strung instruments in the Heart Strings concert on Friday May 16. The second half of this concert will then contrast World War 2 works played on modern instruments featuring the Uppsala Chamber Soloists led by Nils-Erik Sparf, and the Sprogis-Woods-Smith Young Artists.
Preview concert - Lest we Forget
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