Australian Brandenburg Orchestra – Baroque Celebrazione

Stefano Montanari - Photo by Roberto Cifarelli

In July at both Sydney and Melbourne Recital Halls, Italian Baroque violin specialist and soloist Stefano Montanari as Guest Director, will join with Australia’s musical aficionado and leader of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Paul Dyer AO and members of the orchestra, who all play on period instruments, for a very special concert that showcases, as it celebrates all the sparkling jewels in the Baroque music crown.

Stefano Montanari has a formidable reputation in Italy, especially at Ravenna, where he is first violinist for the splendid ensemble Accademia Bizantina, which specializes in the performance of 18th-19th century quartets, playing on authentic instruments. Since 1995 they have toured extensively, supporting the worldwide revival of music from the Baroque era.

A renowned collaborator, Montanari has also conducted concerts all over Italy and internationally, and his recordings have received recognition and awards for their sensitivity to the repertoire and for their achievement in helping to raise the profile of some of the most beautiful music in world history.

Dyer recalls meeting him in a café in a medieval hilltop town not far from Milan in 2010, where they both enjoyed an animated conversation about the ‘exciting music we wanted to make together’. Montanari has received many accolades from critics and the press, one description from the Toronto Star summing up his abilities in a unique way.

“Like a fine trapeze or tightrope artist”, Montanari “knows where to draw the line between getting astonished gasps from his audience, and tossing himself down into an abyss”.

“Stefano and I had an instant rapport,” says Paul Dyer. “We got louder and louder” as they talked about presenting a concert that really celebrates all that is excellent about Baroque music for Australian audiences.

Paul Dyer believes this music that is ‘brilliant, fiery and passionate’, just like Montario, is the “perfect way to introduce the character of this charismatic Italian maestro to the Australian public.”

The concert will be an experience born from a passionate conversation – and un buono caffè, where Montanari arrived on his motorbike for this landmark meeting of great musical minds.

Together Stefano and Paul have chosen gems by Italian Baroque masters Francesco Maria Veracini (1690 – 1768) Francesco Geminiani (1687-1762) and Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (1690-1758) for the program, which will be a passionate exploration of this exquisite ‘music of friends’.

Geminiani was a pupil of Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713) one of the greatest of the early composers who gave Baroque style music a foundation to build upon. Corelli was the ‘embodiment of classical Italian violin music’, the composer who united the threads developed by eminent colleagues to create superb ensemble music as an art form.

Geminiani and his colleagues took the classical purity of Corelli’s style and infused it with their own vibrant emotional rendering, creating poetic works for their own time, the ongoing Baroque. These were works that exuded both ‘noble simplicity and quiet greatness’, qualities it seems that at the time enlightened’ men and women were seeking to gather unto themselves.

Theirs was chamber music par excellence, showcasing the sensuous tone of the violin. The La Folia is an arrangement by Geminiani after Corelli’s Sonata Op. 5, no. 12 “La Follia” in concerto grosso form.

Dyer and Montanario have also selected a virtuosic concerto grosso piece by German born British Baroque composer Georg Frideric Handel (1685-1759), who was famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ works, and a double concerto for flute and violin by German Baroque composer Georg Philipp Telemann (1681 – 1767). These were two musical men who also admired each other’s work, were correspondents during the golden age of letter writing.

In a letter written to Telemann on Christmas Day in 1750 Handel promised him that he would always reciprocate Telemann’s kindness and that

Your obliging manners and your reputation have made a great impression in my heart and in my mind“.

A wonderful way to describe the overwhelming effect of the music that they both wrote for themselves and for those listening.

Concerto in e minor for flute, violin and strings TWV 52:e3 will see Stefano perform alongside the Brandenburg’s exquisite Principal Baroque Flute Melissa Farrow who is in much demand on the early music scene in Australia.

She enjoys bringing romantic music for the flute to life, especially on a period instrument with it’s round, mellow wonderful tone.

All in all the whole experience of this concert will be a celebration of love and life, from its inception to deliverance. Must say I cannot wait to be in the audience at Melbourne and be part of what promises to be a truly memorable experience.

“I’m so happy that this stellar Italian maestro will be at the helm of the Brandenburg for Celebrazione!” said Paul Dyer. “Stefano Montanari is a musician that pushes himself and his musicians right to the edge, which is a thrilling ride for the audience and orchestra alike” said Paul.

If you love beautiful music then you will just have to be there too. The slow movement of the Brescianello Concerto, I have it on good authority, “is TO DIE FOR!”*

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle 2013

Watch the Video – La Folia by Geminiani played by Stefano Montanari and the Academmia Bizantina


Stefano Montanari (Italy) guest director & baroque violin soloist
Melissa Farrow (Australia) baroque flute soloist

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra
Paul Dyer AO artistic director & harpsichord

Veracini Concerto a otto strumenti (1712) first movement
Handel Concerto grosso D major Op. 3/6 HWV 317
Brescianello Concerto No. 4 in e minor / Chaconne in A major
Telemann Concerto in e minor for flute, violin and strings TWV 52:e3
Geminiani La Folia
Veracini Concerto a otto strumenti (1712) second & third movements

SYDNEY   City Recital Hall Angel Place
Evenings Wed 17, Fri 19, Sat 20, Wed 24, Fri 26 July, all at 7pm
Matinee Sat 20 July at 2pm

MELBOURNE   Elisabeth Murdoch Hall, Melbourne Recital Centre
Sat 27 July at 7pm & Sun 28 July at 5pm

City Recital Hall Angel Place (02) 8256 2222 or

Melbourne Recital Centre (03) 9699 3333 or

Brandenburg 1300 782 856 or

Ref: Media Releases and Images supplied by Steven Godbee Publicity (02) 9362 5405

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