Possum goes for Baroque

Riccardo Minasi

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra opens its Glorious Baroque season this weekend with the Australian debut of Guest Director and violinist Riccardo Minasi, described by Gramophone Magazine as ‘one of the most exciting baroque violinists in the business’. Minasi brings his lyrical, tender and dramatic playing to showcase rare 16th and 17th century works one of which is the exquisitely beautiful violin concerto by Vivaldi,  Il favorito

Minasi has recently recorded this work in Rome for a CD release in early 2012 and has teamed with a film-maker to make a music video of this work which can now be seen on You Tube. (Scroll down to the bottom of this page to hear Minasi play Il Favorito on You Tube) He says “There is not the same tradition of video clips in classical music as there is in pop music. We hope that we can be a bit pioneering in this sense.” Minasi will be playing a 1627 violin, made in Cremona by Antonius and Hieronymus Amati and once owned by Eduard Reményi, a good friend of Brahms and violin soloist to Queen Victoria. 

Also in Glorious Baroque, Jamie Hey, the Brandenburg’s principal cellist will give the world premiere of Federico Maria Sardelli’s Cello Concerto in G minor. This is the first time his music has been ever performed in Australia. Federico is a Grammy-nominated conductor, as well as a flautist, painter, engraver, satirist and the founder of the baroque orchestra Modo Antiquo. He wrote the concerto for his wife, Modo Antiquo’s own principal cellist but the group has not yet programmed the work for public performance. The Cello Concerto is written in a baroque style, particularly drawing inspiration from Vivaldi. His mission is not to imitate or copy Vivaldi’s work but to create something new: “My music is new and speaks to the people of today. I’ve learnt to write with the mindset and methods of the ancients, but with new and original ideas.” In today’s computer age Federico takes the old-school approach: “I always compose on paper with pen and ink, and later I transcribe it onto the computer.”

 Flautist Melissa Farrow on period flute performs the thrilling nocturnal landscape of Vivaldi’s La Notte (The Night). Glorious Baroque will also feature the Australian premiere of excerpts to Zelenka’s Il Diamante (The Diamond) featuring a sparkling sinfonia and a sublime aria performed by guest soprano Siobhan Stagg.

 The last time Riccardo Minasi was in Australia, he had a close encounter with a possum. He was on tour Il Giardino Armonico, and whilst walking in a park, decided to take a closer look at a group of possums. ‘They looked so cute, so sweet, so I decided to pat one’. The result was a nasty wound to his finger and hospital treatment. “My finger was so heavily bandaged, people could see it from the back row of every theatre” recalls Riccardo.

The Programme:

ZELENKA  Sinfonia to Il Diamante ZWV 177
ZELENKA  Aria “Qui piegate, qui posate” from Il Diamante
VIVALDI  Concerto for flute La Notte RV 439
SARDELLI  Cello Concerto
FASCH  Ouverture Grande in D major, FWV K:D8
VIVALDI  Violin Concerto in E minor Il favorito RV 278

For tickets call (02) 8256 2222 or in person at City Recital Hall Angel Place or online at www.cityrecitalhall.com

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