Australian Haydn Ensemble – Playing and Inspiring Audiences

The concept of performing large-scale concert works by small ensembles is gaining impetus in Australia, with relatively new and exciting groups such as the Australian Haydn Ensemble filling a very special niche for audiences.

Musicians are engaged on many levels, both inspiring and playing music we know and love, or rare works they wish to introduce us to.

During 2014 the Australian Haydn Ensemble is the group in Residence at the School of Music, the Australian National University.

This landmark group has already received great acclaim, playing rarely played or heard versions of late Baroque and early classical music repertoire on period instruments.

Founder Australian Haydn Ensemble Skye McIntosh

High calibre guest musicians, playing customised programs have been gleaned from many other musical groups and orchestras around the world.

They include such elite groups as the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, the Orchestra of the Antipodes and Australian Chamber Orchestra, as well as the English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestra of The Age of Enlightenment at London and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra to name a few.

Their Artistic Director and Principal Violin Skye McIntosh founded the ensemble in 2011. Her experience has been in historical performance that has been added to extensively, since graduating from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music and the Royal Academy of Music at London where she gained first hand knowledge about the beauty of playing on period instruments.

She also became a Master of Music from Sydney Conservatorium, where she won the concerto prize before touring Italy, Holland and the UK with their Early Music Ensemble.

The Australian Haydn Ensemble‘s program details for 2014 are impressive.

Their first concert at Armidale on July 12th, 2014 was declared a great success and will be followed by an excellent program in Canberra, Bowral and Sydney as they perform Mozart’s Musical Joke.

Following their already sold out House Music Concert at Government House, Sydney, they will be part of the Strathvea Festival in the Yarra Valley 17th – 19th August for which Skye McIntosh is also the founder and Artistic Director.

Then they will be playing Mozart’s wonderful Requiem in their concert Songs of Solemnity to be held on August 23rd at St James Church, Sydney.

This great building was designed by the colonial architect Frances Greenway, and has an excellent acoustic for fine music that resonates.

Mozart’s Requiem is a masterpiece of intense drama, immense power and soul searching tenderness, which is sure to delight all classical music lovers

A work of extraordinary emotional intensity, written in a style that ingeniously marries the spirit of opera with the discipline of a sacred text and directed by Warren Trevelyan-Jones, the concert takes place at 5 pm catering for after work crowds in the city. A great move.

Mozart died in 1791 while he was working on this his now iconic work.

It has been surrounded by mystery and intrigue ever since, especially following its completion by Austrian composer Franz Xaver Süssmayr (1766-1803).

His handwriting appearing on the manuscript makes it clear he completed a number of passages after Mozart’s death.

However the degree to which Süssmayr followed detailed sketches and drafts originally by Mozart remains a continuing point of dispute among musical scholars.

In an all Mozart program, this work of extraordinary emotional intensity and beauty is complemented by the wonderful setting of music for Solemn Vespers, written in a style that ingeniously marries the spirit of opera with the discipline of a sacred text. It also includes Mozart’s ever admired Laudate Dominum

The word requiem comes from the opening words of the Introit during the Mass: Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis – grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and may everlasting light shine upon them.

It differs from the ordinary mass in omitting certain joyful passages such as the Gloria in Excelsis and by the addition of various hymns such as the Dies Iræ.

The “Offertorium” begins with an intercession for the dead “Libera animas omnium fidelium”  – deliver the souls of all the faithful.

This and all following parts express deep feelings of confidence, consolation and hope.

Bowral audiences will enjoy an extra treat when guest director and renowned Canadian violinist Marc Destrubé performs Joseph Haydn’s G major Violin concerto with chamber forces from the Ensemble

Destrubé will then present a newly commissioned chamber version of the 2nd Piano Concerto of Ludwig van Beethoven (1712-1773) both in Canberra and Sydney.

For the 300th Anniversary in December of Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1788) Erin Helyard, Australia’s foremost musical genius, conductor and co-director of the Orchestra of the Antipodes will direct ACO’s English born cellist and viola da gambist Danny Yeadon, who will perform Bach’s Concerto for the Cello.

The marvellous musical form the Concerto first developed to accommodate the purposeful grouping of instruments with a warm, golden and rich colouring of its ‘voice’ is at the foundation of today’s orchestra’s and their establishment.

Using melodic and harmonic passages and playing with light and shadow, enlightened composers grew its stylistic characteristics from about 1600 through a dynamic expressive style that honoured the brilliance and skill lavished on them over time. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) brought the concerto to a high point as an art form

He blended the solo instrument seamlessly with the orchestra, giving his works passion, freedom and deeply moving themes, which gave players and their audiences great joy.

Mozart said of CPE Bach “He is the father, we are the children”

Bach’s treatise Essay on Keyboard Instruments was unsurpassed for two generations, becoming one of the essential sourcebooks for modern day musicians in understanding the style and interpretation of 18th-century music.

The Australian Haydn Ensemble it seems has a very bright future ahead.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2014

Australian Haydn Ensemble

Mozart’s Musical Joke
Drill Hall Gallery
July 17th – 19th

Beethoven’s Piano Concerto
September 29th
Sydney Opera House
Utzon Room

Haydn’s Violin Concerto
September 18th
St Jude’s

House Music
Government House
July 27th

CPE Bach’s Anniversary
December 21st
Sydney Opera House
Utzon Room

Concert Dates, Places and BOOKINGS

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