There is nothing quite like the annual Xmas celebration NOËL NOËL given by the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO) for its friends, fans and followers each year. It is all about ‘beauty, fun and glorious music’, which is completely irresistible.
Artistic Director Paul Dyer is a skilled and masterful programmer and his choices drive the success of any concert the ABO perform whether it is in a local village hall or a grand opera house. It is all about how the music touches the heart and minds of the listeners.
‘Touching on the religious’ but ‘grounded in the spiritual’, the program for Xmas 2016 will offer a wondrous array of ‘choral folk melodies, much loved carols, rousing sixteenth century hymns, and other rare musical delights from around the world’.
The concert is all about embracing community spirit and offering its audience an opportunity to be enchanted by traditions that have endured through time despite going in and out of fashion, as well as new works that are admired.
This year NOËL! NOËL will be held in the Elisabeth Murdoch Recital Hall in Melbourne and in the Sydney suburbs of Paddington, Mosman, Wollongong, Parramatta and Newtown as well as the Sydney City Recital Hall, Angel Place.
New Zealand coloratura soprano Madison Nonoa is special guest performer, along with Leanne Sullivan on the natural trumpet and the combined talents of the Brandenburg Choir, all led by Paul Dyer as conductor.
“People will remember the first time they hear this magnificent young voice,” says Dyer, about his international guest of Samoan and European descent.
The 23-year old Madison Nonoa began singing in perfect harmony in choir from the age of 5. Having received her Bachelor of Music with First Class Honours from the University of Auckland in 2014 she was selected to workshop a new commissioned work by Tim Finn in the Auckland Arts Festival with NZ Opera in 2015.
In July this year in the Lexus Song Quest, she won the Kiri Te Kanawa Foundation scholarship “for the singer who shows the most promise”.
Currently rolling with the punches, she is passionately pursuing her dreams as both a performer and language enthusiast, necessary for those wanting a career in the world of operatic performance.
Leanne Sullivan will perform on a natural trumpet, a valveless brass instrument, often used as a military instrument to facilitate communication. Leanne is principal trumpet with the ABO and has mastered its unique set of difficulties.
The Brandenburg Choir is renowned for its ‘astonishing vocal blend and technical virtuosity’ and has a ravishing sound.
Highlights of the NOËL! NOËL concert for 2016 will include the completely divine Ciaccona á 7 in C Major by German composer Philipp Jakob Rittler (1637-1690).
Paul Dyer reports he received an avalanche of requests for a repeat performance of this sensational work after it was performed on the first program of 2016, where the audience, including me, went wild.
The hit song Ave Maria composed by Russian musician Vladimir Vavilov during the 1970s is sure to be a favourite. It was once attributed to baroque composer Caccini.
Then there is an irresistible arrangement of the hit for singer/songwriter Ben Folds, The Luckiest, a love song that has the glorious Pachelbel’s Canon at its harmonic roots.
Music by Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo was one of the hits of last year’s concert and for 2016 Paul has chosen The Spheres, the first movement of his Sunrise Mass. Gjeilo uses effects which he says give a “sense of floating in space…. surrounded by stars.”
There will be a fuller brass team on renaissance trombones and natural trumpets. They will add a ceremonial touch and majestic splendour to everyone’s favourite carols, as well as a brilliant and festive double trumpet concerto by Vivaldi.
“If you are planning to come to hear our Noël! Noël! In a church or a concert hall, I highly recommend booking early,” says Dyer. “These performances are always our fastest moving concerts and this year will certainly sell out in a flash!”
Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016
Philip Nicolai Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (1599) (arr. Praetorius)
Anonymous Sonata à 9
Traditional Once in Royal David’s City
Vivaldi Concerto for Two Trumpets in C Major, RV 537
Caccini (attrib.) Ave Maria (arr. A. Palmer)
Traditional O Little Town of Bethlehem (arr. A. Palmer)
Ola Gjeilo The Spheres from Kyrie Eleison
Traditional Coventry Carol (arr. A. Palmer)
Luys de Narváez Con qué la lavare (arr. T. Coelho)
Traditional God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (arr. A. Palmer)
Eriks Ešenvalds O Salutaris Hostia
Mendelssohn Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Ben Folds The Luckiest (arr. Jim Clements)
Adolphe Adam O Holy Night (arr. A. Palmer)
Excell Amazing Grace (arr. A. Palmer)
Gruber Stille Nacht
Anonymous O Come All Ye Faithful (arr. Willcocks)