25 April 2017

A drive in the country

I'd forgotten how pleasant a drive in the country can be. These days my country drives are on highways, multiple lanes, quick but industrial. AdHoc Baroque were reprising the performance that I missed the other week but this one was at Gunning. Gunning is little and very pretty with its period architecture. It's just off the Hume but, from Canberra, a country drive through Sutton and Gundaroo. The day was clear and warm and calm and the road was quiet. A pleasure. I arrived to find a wildly cute little church (St Edmund's Anglican, 1863) and a bevy of locals in attendance. Then the music. The second Australian performance of Brunetti Stabat Mater (the first was by AdHoc a few week before) and probably only the 4th or 5th performance in the modern world. Leader Peter Young had obtained a copy of the original manuscript from Viennese YouTube performers who had used manuscript copies from a local library (Zentral Universitatsbiblioteck, Zurich). Not available in commercial or other editions, so not widely performed. Brunetti was the feature. The rest of the program was religious music of the era, Scarlatti Salve Regina, Charpentier Magdelena lugens (sung by Maartje) and Stradella O vos omnes (sung by Greta). All written for female voices and small forces that suited AdHoc Baroque, with its soprano and alto pairing up front and a few strings and organ. The strings were Clara on cello, the CSO pairing of Barbara Jane and Pip on violins and Michelle joining on viola for the Brunetti. And Peter leading from organ keyboard, of course. This is such delightful music with various lively solo passages or dolorous with the themes of the dying Jesus and the accompanying women - Mary and Magdelene. The title of the concert was Mater Dolorosa. For once I followed the words and attempted the Latin/English translation. It was worthwhile and revelatory to understand the theme as it passed through various stanzas and associated emotions. Such dignified music, sometimes uplifting or dolorous or heart-rending, sometimes playful with counterpoint or fugue, not least from the vocals, always immensely beautiful. This music is always an intellectually satisfying and emotional delight and with AdHoc we have a group that is expanding the repertoire through Peter's extensive editing of original scores. A local treasure.

AdHoc Baroque performed Brunetti, Scarlatti, Charpentier and Stradella at St Edmund's Anglican Church at Gunning. AdHoc comprised Peter Young (director, organ) with Greta Claringbould (soprano), Maartje Sevenster (mezzo-soprano), Barbara Jane Gilby and Pip Thompson (violins), Michelle Higgs (viola) and Clara Teniswood (cello).

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