Sato & The Romantics – ABO & Violin Virtuoso, Absolute Magic

Shenske Sato
Shenske Sato

Shenske Sato, detail photo by Sakai Koki, courtesy Artists

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra (ABO) is renowned for uniting with great soloists, to present performances of ‘unadulterated magic’.

Shunske Sato, a much-acclaimed American virtuoso violinist, will be joining the ABO as guest director, and to play his period violin at the Sydney City and Melbourne Recital Halls this Spring in Australia.

Sato D

Shunske Sato photo by Yat Ho Tsang, courtesy Artists

Artistic Director of the ABO Paul Dyer says: “Shunske is a brilliant international talent, one of the most dynamic and exciting violinists of his generation.  He’s performing the Paganini Violin Concerto No. 4 ON GUT STRINGS. Who does that? It is something only the bravest of the brave would dare to tackle!”

Sato E

Shunske Sato photo by Mark Daams, courtesy of the artists

The concert will commence with the String Symphony No. 3 in E minor, MWV N 3 by German musician; pianist, organist and conductor Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847), one of the most celebrated of the so-called Romantic period’s composers, exalting feeling and imagination over tradition.

Mendelssohn lived in an immensely elegant society, one that appeared successful, excessive and civilized. We know him through the fashion for playing his ‘Wedding March’, which he played at the wedding of the Princess Royal in England.

It became so popular it has come down until the present day.

Violin-Playing-Architectural-AngelMendelssohn lived in a period where degrees of social openness and cultural adventurousness were rarely acknowledged, and importantly, intellectual rigour became an integral aspect of the romantic composer’s repertoire.

Its protagonists were meant to be fluent in music, linguistics and painting, although music was at the pinnacle. It is there that Felix Mendelssohn shone; attempting to resolve the disharmony of his times.

MendelssohnSocial order was for Mendelssohn a necessity; he embraced orderly expression with works exhibiting poetic imagination, calm and clarity.

Grieg ARomanticism was for Norwegian composer Edvard Hagerup Grieg (1843-1907) only ever an artistic metier. Responsible for helping to develop the vogue for Scandinavian music in both Europe and America, Grieg produced piano pieces and songs that were delicate and appealing.

He evolved his harmonies from the late Romantic style into works that present a set of variations on a folk theme.

His Holberg Suite Op. 40 Suite in the Olden Style was based on dance forms popular during the eighteenth century.

They included a Gavotte and Sarabande in a stunning piece composed for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Danish-Norwegian playwright Ludvig Holberg (1684-1754) Baron of Holberg.

PaganiniThe finale of the concert will be provided by the Italian composer Niccoló Paganini (1782-1840) who wrote his Concerto for Violin No. 4 in D minor at the height of a career that revolutionized violin technique.

This involved new methods of fingering and improvisation at which he excelled.

Famously, at one point of his life he was recorded as having pawned his violin because of gambling debts and it is now history how an impressed French merchant lent him a Guarneri violin for a concert because he admired its robust tone.

The violin had come from a now famous family of Italian violin makers and it is now history that after hearing him play, the owner gave him the instrument, which is now preserved in the Palazzo Municipale of Genoa.

Shunske Sato says he loves performing the Paganini “There is the tightrope-walking and having a left-hand like Elastigirl from The Incredibles, but beautiful, lyrical moments are just as plenty,” says Shunske. “And the orchestration is exceptionally effective and well thought out. Despite its qualities, the piece is not played very often – high time to change that!”

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Sunske Seto, photo by Sakai Koki, courtesy Artists

Resident in The Netherlands, Shunske Seto serves as concertmaster of Concerto Köln and the Netherlands Bach Society. He also teaches violin at the Amsterdam conservatory, in the context of historical performance.

Born in Tokyo he studied at the Juilliard School in New York, the Conservatoire National de Région in Paris and the Hochschule für Musik und Theather in Munich. His list of credentials are indeed impressive.

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016

Sato & The Romantics
Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

7, 9, 14, 16 and 17 September, 2016
City Recital Hall Angel Place Sydney


10 and 11 September, 2016
Elisabeth Murdoch Recital Hall Melbourne



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