18 August 2023


We'd heard our mates, the Australia Haydn Ensemble, play a Beethoven Symphony no.6 at Wesley two years ago.   Last night they returned with another, B7.  Now this is a renowned work (the odd numbered symphonies are, but B6 is OK too) and I was looking forward to the listen, but what really hit me in the end was the effect of this concise version of a well known work.  They played it with one flute, two each of violins and violas, one each of cello and double bass so it had nothing of the huge impact of an orchestra but it had clarity and concision and I heard different things.  Well, maybe I responded to different lines that were more obvious, clear and precise even if less powerful.  Not better or worse but very different and thus informative and expressive.  And quite memorable.  Of course I listened to Jacqueline on bass, and thought of when I played this work and whether my bowing could have been quite so effective (of course not!).  The bass end was all clarity and dynamics, but then this was common throughout the players.  I remember sudden dynamic changes by all that stunned.  Maybe it's easier with fewer players to define those dynamics.  And I felt I understood the structure and changes better; they were more evident.  So this was different and hugely enjoyed.  It left me with a huge smile on my face.  But that was the second half.  The first half was another Beethoven, his Egmont Overture, similarly concise and clear.  The middle work was Boccherini String Quintet Cmin.  It was written for such an ensemble and the music was truly lovely, but nowhere near the complexity and avid life of the Beethoven, so it was lovely and the presentation was not unexpected.  It was what it was and it was lovely just for that.   So, I left with another dose of Beethoven awe and a huge smile.  BTW, they played well, too, and sounded a dream.

Australian Haydn Ensemble performed Boccherini, Beethoven Egmont and Beethoven 7 at Wesley.  AHE were Skye McIntosh and Matthew Greco (violins), Karina Schmitz and James Eccles (violas), Daniel Yeadon (cello), Jacqueline Dossor (double bass), Melissa Farrow (flute).

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