Noël! Noël! – Paul Dyer & Brandenburg Players Gift of Music

Dyer XmasEach year Paul Dyer, co-founder and Artistic Director of the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO) looks forward to choosing the program for the orchestra’s much celebrated Xmas show.

I get to let my imagination go wild for our Noël! Noël! concerts,” says Paul Dyer AO. Having an opportunity to present a program of music that ‘nourishes the soul and puts smiles on face’s‘ is for Dyer the penultimate experience.

Paul Dyer will present many favourites on the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s Noël! Noël! program. He ensures it showcases all sorts of ‘… styles and combinations of instruments and voices with the sole purpose of giving people a feel-good boost.  And at a time of year when we all really need it.” he said.

Medieval carols, English, French and German hymns, Gregorian chant and Christmas songs are integral to the program presented in Sydney, Melbourne and Wollongong


With its rich and fruitful mixture of tradition and contemporary, the program is all about peace and harmony.

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra players will create a wonderful atmosphere, together with the Brandenburg Choir. They will croon in tune and soar sweetly alongside the period instruments the talented orchestra members play.

Architecture, literature and philosophy are integral to the intellectual and artistic life of every society in every age, with its spirit expressed through its music.

The music they present will also resonate long and loftily in the iconic architectural spaces of select suburban Sydney Churches, where the ABO will also herald the joyous sounds of Xmas as an addition to its main venues.

The beautiful hymn Stille Nacht (Silent Night) will feature a verse in Ukranian, highlighting the Christmas message; caring, courage, compassion and love.

This year “I am excited to introduce the beautiful bandura to the Brandenburg stage, played by Larissa Kovalchuk” Paul Dyer said

He explained “This year I was very affected by events that have taken place in Ukraine and I decided to include a personal wish for peace by adding Larissa and her spellbinding playing to the mix.”

Larissa has a thrilling mezzo-soprano voice and the Bandura she plays is one of the Ukraine’s most beautiful string instruments, which looks as if it descends from the lute the Greek God Apollo played.

BanduraHe was about beauty and so is the Bandura, which has been sculptured and reformed throughout the centuries to become a Ukrainian national instrument and the source for sweet sounds of beautiful music.

In Australia we are unique in the world in that like others in the Southern Hemisphere, we have our Xmas without snow.

Our thoughts of little elves living with Santa at the North Pole are more or less, apart from the obvious, all about our desire to be ‘cool’.

Stradivari-by-Edgar-Bundy-1862-1922Paul Dyer’s emboldening ABO Xmas concert Noël Noël reminds us all, that achieving peace and harmony is aided by connecting cultural voices all around the world.

The performance will include a work favoured by those who tune into the ABC Classic FM breakfast show or purchase their Swoon CD’s.

It’s a version of Ave Maria, that was written in 1970 by Russian composer Vladimir Vavilov (1925-1973)

Then there is the heart rending “Ebben! ne andrò lontana”.

This wonderful piece was made famous during the 80’s when it defined the cult classic French cinema experience, Diva.

Alice and her Viola Da Gamba Photo: Dean Sewell

Alice and her Viola Da Gamba Photo: Dean Sewell

They will be arranged by the brilliant young contemporary Australian composer Alice Chance and performed by the Australian Brandenburg Choir.

There will also be a choral arrangement of the truly wonderful Adagio for Strings composed by Samuel Barber (1910-1981) in 1936 which has earned its place on world stage’s. Barber was only 27 years of age and the work would define his entire career,

This is a glorious piece of music and it’s no surprise that many chamber orchestras around the world have added it permanently into their established repertoire lists.

Composed in 1937 and played in 1938 on NBC radio across America, it struck a chord with millions of people.

This was a tumultuous time in world history with Hitler’s Germany pushing everyone inexorably forward to the brink of war.

Conducted by famous conductor Arturo Toscanini at a concert in New York first rocketed it and its composer to immediate celebrity status as it ‘…evoked an intense sense of moral mission’ noted  Joe Horowitz, author of Understanding Toscanini.

Today it is celebrated because of this one piece of music’s rare ability to pierce even the most hardened of personal armours, with its haunting qualities, fragile beauty, tenderness and all encompassing emotive power.

During the last fifty years it has become one of the world’s most popular and identifiable pieces of 20th century music and when arranged for choral voices is truly sublime.

Samuel Barber won two Pulitzer prizes and became a most accomplished man, seeking to help musicians and to promote music through UNESCO.

It’s that special time of year in Australia and we could all do with some glorious music infusing the soul. Many people are looking forward to taking a break, including here at the ‘Circle’ where we all check out for some R & R.

This concert will be an inspiration, and a great platform for giving us all a new place to start. My Brandenburg buddy and I can’t wait!

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra is at the very heart of cool.

Twisted Xmas Tree

Noël! Noël!

Juan Gutiérrez de Padilla 
Deus in adiutorium
Ralph Vaughan Williams 
Down Ampney (Come Down, O love Divine)
(arr. C Forshaw)
Divisions on Ancient Carols Played on the Cornetto with Basso Continuo
(arr. M. Manchester)
Johann Sebastian Bach 
Concerto for Violin and Oboe d’amore in c minor BWV 1060 (arr. violin and saxophone)
Traditional Ukrainian 
Duma and Kozak March
Vladimir Vavilov (arr. A. Chance)
Ave Maria
Samuel Barber
Agnus Dei – Adagio for Strings: with Vocals
Traditional Ukrainian 
Near the Hill
(arr. A. Chance)
Alfredo Catalani  (arr. A. Chance)
“Ebben! Ne andrò lontana”  from the opera La Wally
Franz Xaver Gruber and Joseph Mohr
Stille Nacht
Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane (arr. P. Dyer)
Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
Anon. (arr. D. Wilcox)    
O Come All Ye Faithful


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