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The Australian Chamber Orchestra at the Tarrawarra Festival

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by Elizabeth Quinn (subscribe)
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Tarrawarra festival a celebration of art, music, wine & life
The Tarrawarra Museum of Art played host last weekend to musicians from the Australian Chamber orchestra and the Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM). The intimacy of the gallery space lends itself perfectly to a chamber music concert, a once-a-year event that sells out within hours of going on sale.

The lucky golden ticket holders didn't mind queuing up for this one. The warmth of the late summer afternoon was alleviated by the provision of TWMA sun umbrellas. This crowd was never going to get ugly. Adding to the general air of civility was the warm presence of orchestra leader Richard Tognetti, whose proximity to the front row encouraged gentle banter between stage and audience.

The orchestra kicked off with a Brahms prelude. Majestic, melancholic and brief, it had something of the Scorsese film score about it. The mood lifted with Bach's Concerto for Violin in A Minor. The joy of the score was reflected in the facial expressions of the musicians, and Tognetti made a meal of the allegro movements with his deft touch and virtuosic flourishes.The ACO was joined onstage by students from ANAM for the Brahms String Sextet, creating a huge sound equivalent to an orchestra three times its size. The interplay of musical light and shade was almost as delightful as the evident support and encouragement the students derived from the ACO veterans.

Sunday afternoon's programme was the final of three concerts over two days. TWMA director Victoria Lynn had curated the space in which it took place, surrounding players and audience with Louise Hearman's surreal paintings and Yhonnie Scarce's 'Hollow Earth', both inspired by climate change and its consequences. Both exhibitions will be on show until May 14.

The ACO has been making this annual pilgrimage to the Yarra Valley since 2011. It's a permanent fixture on the classical music calendar for those lucky enough and quick enough on the draw to snaffle tickets. Well worth getting on the mailing list.
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Why? Richard Tognetti and the ACO at Tarrawarra: a feast for all the senses
When: Saturday February 25 to Sunday February 26 2017
Phone: (0)3 5957 3100
Where: Tarrawarra Museum of Art, 311 Healesville-Yarra Glen Road, Healesville, Victoria
Cost: Individual tickets $150 per concert, weekend packages $395
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