Season Preview 2020

“I was recently reminded of how Europe is comparatively small geographically, but how very diverse and rich it is culturally, and how this area of the world has had such a giant impact on art and architecture and music,” says Paul Dyer, Artistic Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. “In 2020 I wanted to explore the legacy and impact of the genius composers, the true titans: Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi, all the way to the eastern influences of the Ottoman Empire.

Paul Dyer. Photo © Georges Antoni

“Bach, for example, lived in a number of locations in a very small area geographically, and yet his music is infinitely inventive and imaginative and expansive, it’s abstract and complex in many ways, but also just connects with people directly on the purely simple human emotional and spiritual level,” Dyer adds. “The greatest music by the greatest composers achieves this, the music speaks for itself and speaks directly to the hearts of listeners through the ages and I want a season full of music that connects with audiences emotionally and lifts them up.”

The season begins with the return of French harpist Xavier de Maistre, who made a much raved-about debut with the orchestra in 2018. This time round he’s taking audiences on a tour of Venice, performing clever arrangements of works including Vivaldi’s L’inverno and Concerto for Lute in D Major, Marcello’s Concerto for Oboe in D Minor and Pescetti’s Sonata in C Minor.

“He’s in great demand around the world, so it is extremely special that Brandenburg has the opportunity to bring him to our audiences again,” says Dyer. “Xavier is an amazingly magnetic artist who completely captivates not only the audience but also the musicians who are performing with him onstage.”

“This time the orchestra will be collaborating closely with Xavier, even more so than in 2018. We will explore baroque music of Vivaldi and Venice and still include some astonishing solo work. This concert will feel characteristically very Venetian, and the harp is an instrument that is rarely the solo instrument for a concert like this.”

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Photo © Georges Antoni

Craig Hill will then take the spotlight in the season’s second concert, performing Mozart’s Concerto for Clarinet on basset clarinet, still a rarity in the concert hall. Baroque oboist Emma Black also returns for this concert, performing the same composer’s Oboe Concerto. The program is rounded out by WF Bach’s Adagio e Fuga.

German baroque violinist and rising star Jonas Zschenderlein then joins the orchestra for Bach’s Violin in July. Although the composer wrote few concertos for the instrument, his Concerto for Violin in E Major and Concerto for Three Violins remain shining examples of his singular talents. This special program concludes with his Orchestral Suite No 3.

An unmistakeable highlight, the fourth concert in the season explores Notre-Dame’s rich musical legacy. A celebration of the iconic cathedral in the wake of the fire in April 2019, the program features music by French composers Campra, Lully, Rameau, Rebel and others, dramatised moments devised and directed by Alana Valentine, and the involvement of the Brandenburg Choir.

“This imposing but somewhat solitary building on its little island in Paris has remained largely unchanged for eight centuries while the whole world has changed around it,” says Dyer. “Notre-Dame is my personal reaction to the devastation that the world observed but also [the] optimism and determination of the French people to rebuild and restore.”

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Photo © Georges Antoni

“The fire got me thinking: How many people have travelled through this building over the centuries? All types of people, from so many diverse backgrounds, and for all sorts of reasons, through the ages. While we were witnessing this fire from all around the world, I started thinking about what this building has witnessed over hundreds of years. And of all the music heard inside and created inside and all those memories created by all those travellers and worshippers. I’ve been several times and “Our Lady of Paris” always touches my heart and inspires my imagination. The concert will be a celebration of 800 years of music that Notre-Dame has experienced, woven into a theatrical concert with dialogue.”

In another example of the orchestra’s innovative programming, Ottoman Baroque sees the return of the Whirling Dervishes for a program inspired by the sounds of Christian and Sufi chant. A pasticcio featuring traditional music from Turkey as well as works by Allegri, Boccherini, Lully, Marais and Telemann, this wide-ranging performance aims to evoke the movement, colour and sound of the bazaars of Istanbul.

And as is now customary, the final concert of the season will be Noël! Noël!, which sees the Brandenburg Choir perform carols and medieval hymns in celebration of the festive season.

Full season details