Concert Review: Mediterráneo/ Australian Brandenburg Orchestra/ Daniel Pinteño

Violinist Daniel Pinteño with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Image credit Steven Godbee
Violinist Daniel Pinteño with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra. Image credit Steven Godbee

Mediterráneo/  Australian Brandenburg Orchestra with Daniel Pinteño, violin.

City Recital Hall, Sydney

5 September 2018

Written by Deen Hamaker

Although the baroque music of Germany, France and Italy are frequently heard, the baroque music of Spain is still a relative rarity and there is much unheard baroque repertoire from the Spanish-speaking world, emerging every year as musicologists discover long-forgotten treasures in the archives of cathedrals and monasteries in Mexico, South America and Spain. So it was a real joy for to hear the programme of rare gems that the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra performed, led by guest director violinist Daniel Pinteño.

The world premiere of a baroque overture might sound like an impossibility in the 21st century, but Félix Máximo López’s Overtura con tutti instrumenti in B-flat Major finally had its debut performance in Sydney over 200 years after it was composed. Along with two other rarities not previously heard in Australia, these works made up a wonderful exploration of the music of the Mediterranean from the late 17th through the 18th century. Musicologists Raúl Angulo and Toni Pons have found some wonderfully intriguing and unusual pieces. Alongside two concertos by Vivaldi and two movements of a concerto by English composer Charles Avison, we were taken across the sunny 18th century Mediterranean musical landscape to the royal courts of Spain.

As well as the world premiere piece by López, we were treated to sparkling pieces from Vicente Basset, Jaime Facco and Cayetano Brunetti, all of whom were working and composing in the 18th century royal court of Spain in Madrid. Influenced by the composing style of Vivaldi, these pieces showcase the vitality and richness of the music of 18th century Spain. At a time when it was consolidating its position as an economic powerhouse with a global empire, Spain was also finding its own gallant musical style.

With his excellent musicianship and contagious passion for the music of 18th century Spain, Daniel Pinteño led the ensemble from the violin. Revelling in his many solo opportunities he played with verve and panache, especially relishing in the virtuosic sections of the final movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Violin in D Major from L’estro Armonico‘ and the Il con furia movement of Avison’s Concerto Grosso in D Major, played with frenzied brilliance. Featured in Vivaldi’s Concerto for Flute in G Major, La Notte, Melissa Farrow on baroque flute was wonderful. Her vividly coloured playing showcased the storm-like sections of Vivaldi’s intriguing and mysterious concerto.

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra has set the benchmark for baroque music performance in Australia and this continues unabated. Augmented with baroque oboes and horns, their playing was precise and dynamic, bringing life to these uncovered jewels. Standing out as the rather ‘delirious and introverted’ solo cello in Brunetti’s Il Maniatico, Jamie Hey’s playing encapsulated the obsessed introvert finally pulled out of his delirium by his fellow instruments in the melodious final moments of the Sinfonia.

As the audience cheered its approval at the end, Daniel Pinteño returned to the stage for an added final treat. Giving us some robust Spanish colour, ABO Artistic Director Paul Dyer at the harpsichord, launched into Padre Antonio Soler’s fiery Fandango. He played with dexterity and dash and was soon joined by Daniel Pinteño and the rest of the orchestra in a rousing finale, sending us off into the cool early spring night warmed by Spanish passion after a night of excellent music-making.

Deen Hamaker for SoundsLikeSydney©

Deen Hamaker is a passionate opera aficionado and commentator. Introduced to theatre, opera and classical music at a very young age, he has acted in and directed several theatre productions, both in Australia and overseas. Deen lived in Japan for several years and studied the performing arts of Asia. Deen’s particular passion is opera, particularly the Russian, French and Modern repertoire. Deen was a contributing author for “Great, Grand and Famous Opera Houses”, 2012. Fluent in Japanese, Deen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Japanese from Griffith University and currently lives in Sydney.

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra with Daniel Pinteño, perform Mediterráneo at 7 pm at the City Recital Hall, Sydney on selected evenings till September 14 with a matinee at 2 pm on Saturday 8 September. 



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