The Australian classical music scene is bursting at the seams with activity and is full of vibrancy, so it’s difficult to imagine there would be room for another orchestra.
But with the determination and vision of violinist Skye McIntosh, the Australian Haydn Ensemble cemented its place in the Sydney, and indeed, national music scene with a stunning concert at City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney on Saturday, 16 July, 2016.
The concert coincided with the official launch of the orchestra’s first CD on ABC Classic, The Haydn Album.
Playing to an almost-full house, the Australian Haydn Ensemble opened with a work by Franz Joseph Haydn that included an Adagio movement by Mozart (the two greatly admired each other’s work), Symphony No. 25 in G Major MH 334. Led by McIntosh, who plays an 1820 violin by London maker, Joseph Panormo, the orchestra created a wonderfully cushioned sound that was very easy to listen to.
Careful attention to articulation and the way the sound is produced have paid off and created a sense of poised enthusiasm in this group.
Dr Erin Helyard performed Wolgang Amadeus Mozart’s Keyboard Concerto in E Flat, K.449 on fortepiano after Anton Walter 1795, Chris Maene, kindly provided by Ivan Foo, and led the group from the keyboard.
Dr Helyard is a highly accomplished musician who boasts a PhD in Musicology from the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal. He is also artistic director and co-founder of Pinchgut Opera and the Orchestra of the Antipodes. He performed with great assurance and weaved in and out of interactions with the orchestra (who were on occasion too loud for this gentle instrument) with great skill.
Haydn’s first Cello Concerto in C Major, Hob VIIB/1 was performed by esteemed cellist Daniel Yeadon, who plays a cello by William Forster II, London c.1780, and who is a part-time member of The Australian Chamber Orchestra. This was the only work on the program that is on the ensemble’s CD. Yeadon brought great energy and enthusiasm to this popular and vibrant work, especially in the first movement. He studied a number of historic texts in order to be able to perform the most historically accurate version of this work possible, and his use of narrow vibrato as an ornament rather than a continuous means of tone production is evident in the slow movement.
The program concluded with a lively rendition of Symphony No. 83, Hob: 83 La Poule (“The Hen”). This dramatic work with its abrupt and entertaining changes of mood was the perfect way to end the evening.
The Australian Haydn Ensemble has released a CD The Haydn Album, which is available from ABC Classics. They have two more CD’s coming out soon: a recording of Beethoven piano concertos with Dr Neal Peres Da Costa and the Australian Haydn Quartet playing Haydn String Quartet Op. 20. No. 4.
Meldi Arkinstall, CD-Music Reviewer, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016