This brilliant CD Celebrates 25 years of one of the most vibrant ensembles on the Australian classical music scene: The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.
Opening with the regal Coronation Anthem by George Frederic Handel, this disc is one of jubilant music making all the way through.
The brass shine through with bell-like clarity, and rhythmic pronunciation by the choristers help make this work bounce with joy at the words, ‘God Save the King, Long Live the King.’
Flautist Melissa Farrow features in Georg Phillipp Telemann’s Concerto in E minor for flute, violin and strings, TWV52:e3 and shows why she has been principal flute of this esteemed group for some many years.
Her playing is poised, expressive and beautiful and demonstrates great technical ability, especially in the opening movement which is taken at break-neck speed.
Violinist Shaun Lee-Chen shows his dazzling technique in the third movement of this lovely work.
Jamie Hey performs Antonio Vivaldi’s Cello Concerto in A minor, RV 421, and although this performance isn’t as solid as the flute concerto, it is nevertheless most enjoyable.
A powerful pizzicato bass line stands out in the final movement of this concerto.
Two works by Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello are included here: a violin concerto and Chaconne in A major.
Violinist Shaun Lee-Chen comes into his own here, with a wonderful array of stylish ornamentation in the slow movement.
Brescianello was a contemporary of JS Bach, Telemann and George Friderich Handel, and many of his have been lost.
These two works feature elegant melodies and rhythmic vitality.
The disc finishes with a twentieth century work by Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin: Prelude and Cube.
It seems a strange addition to a disc that otherwise features works from the Baroque period, but its inclusion is explained in the sleeve notes: the work was commissioned to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Brandenburg Orchestra and this is the world premiere recording.
Using similar orchestration to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Magnificat, Kats-Chernin’s biggest challenge was to feature every instrument.
The result is an interesting and engaging work that pays homage to Bach, showcasing Christina Leonard on soprano saxophone while exploring expansive expressive melodic lines.
Meldi Arkinstall, CD-Meldi’s Music Reviews, The Culture Concept Circle, 2015