24 November 2019
In some ways it takes one to know one. I'm learning that as I listen to music I've played or groups in the style I play. I joked as we entered the Albert Hall for the latest Australian Haydn Ensemble concert, featuring visiting European period violin star Midori Seiler, that we were there to learn from our betters. From the first notes, I decided it was evidently true. I don't think I'd quite realised it before to this extent, but this was very close to home, an ensemble in format somewhat like Musica da Camera and playing Mozart and Haydn much like much of our music (although we can be more disparate, too, more modern, even minimalist). But the clarity and precision and sweet tones did it for me. And the glances at Midori as leader and her bodily interpretation. All wonderful and exemplary. I can blame the instruments to some degree (we play modern instruments tuned to A=440 and no gut) and I do, but that's mainly a joke, although the tone is wildly different and avidly apt. Jackie's bass was sweet, deep, soft (gut, baroque bow) where mine is edgy, crisp, clear and hard to bow (Spirocores, modern bow). But that's just one aspect. Ignoring that, they just do it like a dream. I love AHE in their end-of-year large format and with Midori they just positively sang. They played one symphony and one violin concerto from each of Mozart and Haydn (K.319 and K.211; VIIa/1 and I:80). Did I mention I enjoyed it? And that learnt a motza? Just a fabulous outing.
Australian Haydn Ensemble were led by Midori Seiler (violin) at the Albert Hall.