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orchestra seventeen88 presents its second winter festival @ santa sabina college

Inset pic- Ochestra88 Artistic Director and Conductor Richard Gill OAM. Featured pic- Guest soloist: Emma Black playing the historical oboe.

The combined talents of orchestra seventeen88 shine in the second annual Winter Festival, which fulfills the definition of a festival event. This focused gathering is a true celebration of historically informed performance (“HIP”).

The audience feasts on unique compositions and satisfying performances. This special time displays period-accurate performance through school visits and to adults at the concert venues.

In an afternoon, spent in the magnificent Chapel at Santa Sabina College Strathfield, Artistic Director Richard Gill has assembled a rewarding programme of works which instantly brings warmth to our winter.

This young orchestra of seasoned HIP enthusiasts plays some works written by composers when also in their youth. These include chamber music by twelve year-old Mendelssohn and a symphony by the sixteen year-old Mozart.

From the first phrase of the chamber music concert the orchestra88 musicians affect us with energetic, enlightened and exciting music making. Communication between the musicians and with the audience is strong and engaging. The support and standing ovations from the ecstatic festival crowd is the desired performance outcome for any musical era or style.

The festival’s chamber music concert gets off to a dynamic start of enthusiastic playing and a crisp rendering of Mendelssohn’s Sinfonia No 6 in E flat major. The balance and equality of all string instruments is very refined. The polyphony of the work’s final prestissimo movement dazzles.

Four wind musicians join the string quartet to explore Reicha’s Octet Op 96 (1807).The audience are introduced to the expressive and compositional skill of this composer whilst being treated to an elegantly blended version of the work on period instruments.

The full forces of orchestra88 present animated and expertly shaped interpretations of the works by Mozart and Haydn. Their obvious enjoyment whilst performing the music and interacting with each other is refreshing and a pleasure to watch. The interpretations are well led by the consummate directorship of inspiring violinist Rachael Beesley.

Much colour and momentum is present in Mozart’s Symphony No 17 K129 (1782).The ‘Mannheim crescendo’ effects transport us back to the era with their freshness. Other accentuation and nuance make this work a fine opening to this festival’s orchestral concert.

Guest soloist, oboist Emma Black, thrills with her presentation of Mozart’s Concerto in C major K314 (1777). Played on the oboe and not as a flute transcription, her performance sings, shows the agility of her instrument, and is meshed well with the orchestra.

Black’s pace and delivery of musical statements in her cadenza work is stunning. Her full tone and articulation throughout the well-projected playing is an admirable advertisement for her talent as sell as the period oboe.

This orchestra also excels at the concert’s conclusion to present the uniqueness of Haydn. The originality of Haydn’s Symphony No 62 in D major (1781) receives a respectful and highly atmospheric airing from this group of enlightened performers.

Once again, the wealth of colours and characters are entertainingly portrayed. The demanding developments of Haydn’s final movement are fashioned into a fabulous conclusion to both this interesting work and the entire afternoon of music making.

This orchestra’s Second Annual Winter Festival certainly lives up to the group’s motto: “Inspire, Educate, Enlighten”. The next orchestra seventeen88 concerts in Sydney will take place in November 2015.


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