The 2019 Season for the ACO has just been announced. It contains, as it always has under Richard Tognetti’s leadership, an innovative program for subscribers and followers to enjoy, be emboldened by and above all, inspired.
The Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) has become a living icon of the Australian music scene in the years since it was established. It actively seeks to give those who come to enjoy their concerts, an enlightening time by expanding their knowledge of, and widening their appreciation for, the very best of musical compositions old and new.
By a stroke of good luck I was there BT, Before Tongetti. When a youthful Richard Tognetti walked onto the Sydney Opera House stage in 1990 to take charge of the ACO, founded by cellist John Painter in 1975 of which I was a subscriber. Everything changed.
Witnessing the initial performance on stage was for me near the beginning of my journey into the world of chamber music. It had an enormous impact, ensuring the world of early, Baroque and Classical music became among the mainstays of my life, which later expanded to include Spanish Baroque and Flamenco music.
This doesn’t mean that I didn’t love the Beatles, David Bowie and other contemporary musicians, but they took secondary place to the live experience of early music for me, which always took centre stage.
It’s often hard to believe all these years later Mr Tognetti is still showcasing his own considerable musical skills. He is generously sharing his passion for the music that resonates in his life with people of the world, via the extraordinary ways he has imagined to do just that.
Last year the film Mountain, a vision of the sublime, was released in September as a joint creative collaboration with the ACO and acclaimed documentary director Jennifer Peedom. It explored the world of human beings and their complex relationships with some of the highest peaks in the world.
An awe-inspiring production, the score produced by Richard Tognetti who was both musical director and composer, was indeed mesmerising, as was the narration by Willem Dafoe.
This is part of this outstanding musician’s personal abilities; to embrace and enjoy contemporary music set alongside stunning historical music. For the viewer, every performance is always a joy to both behold. Witnessing his passion is infectious.
The first concert of the year will showcase music by one of history’s most acclaimed German composers, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) alongside that of Estonian modernist Arvo Pärt (b. 1935-).
Additionally there will be a work by Galina Grigorjeva, In Paradisum and Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe’s, Djilile.
During the eighteenth century ‘Enlightenment’ in Europe, England and America the composition of music was generally considered of the highest quality, or lasting value.
In many ways, it became a benchmark standard.
In the late seventeenth, and first half of the eighteenth century in Germany, J.S. Bach brought together many different styles, forms and traditions of music and, during his lifetime, enriched them all.
He composed toccatas, capriccios, fugues, fantasias, suites, sonatas, variations and other short pieces meant for teaching.
Bach was certainly not boring. He threw out a robust challenge for all musicians, providing works with a complex structure and a wealth of detail, which extended the full possibilities of the instruments they were playing.
His organ works in particular, represented a call out to battle for all musicians and while hard, inspired them all to be the very best they could be. Who doesn’t thrill to the drama of a Bach Pedal Fugue played in a great cathedral where it resonates off the architecture so boldly. Especially the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565…
turned into something amazing in our own age; a Toccata and Funk by Walter Murphy. Perfect for all those with OCD!
Seriously, on this first program the ACO will perform Bach: Komm, Jesu, komm; Bach: Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied; Bach: Lobet den Herrn, alle Heiden and his Der Geist hilft unser Schwachheit auf.
Bach’s Komm, Jesu, Komm is a superb sacred motet, which will be accompanied by the ACO with the vocals sung by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir. It should be quite an experience.
The lyrics are telling; come, come, I will yield myself to you; you are the true path, truth and life. Truth being one of the key factors in the age of enlightenment a period when performance and visual art came to stand for imaginative truth.
Of the works by Arvo Pärt: Summa; Arvo Pärt: Toccata from Collage on B-A-C-H: Arvo Pärt: Berliner Messe and finally his Da pacem Domine. His Toccata from Collage on B-A-C-H should garner attention. While inspired by Baroque forms, it’s a long way from the original, but the intensity and drama are well in play.
Then there is the stunning Da pacem Domine, composed as a tribute to victims of the Madrid terrorist attacks on 11th March 2004 (10 bombs in 4 trains and 192 victims). Music certainly has the power to heal and this helped begin the process.
Season 2019 for the ACO is a really big season to absorb. You will need time out to do so, as there are some amazing and pretty extraordinary concerts to consider.
You can do that best by downloading the ACO 2019 Season Brochure here.
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2019