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Vivaldi's Four Seasons at City Recital Hall, Sydney

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by Victoria St Lukes (subscribe)
Around the World...Around the Wuurld...Around the World... Around the Wuuuuuurrrrrlllllllld!
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Summer is coming - don't miss Vivaldi's Four Seasons
I was rushing, my hair was still wet, I wasn't dressed, my friend messaged me to say she was outside in her car, and that's how my evening started. (The previous night, I went to watch As You Were, the documentary on Liam Gallagher, so this evening was going to be slightly different…. not a swear word in sight, apart from a few from me when I realised my friend had already arrived!).

The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra are playing Vivaldi's Four Seasons on period instruments at Sydney's City Recital Hall until Friday 15th November with two 7pm performances remaining. Melbourne is sold out, luckily Sydney still has seats available.

As I am a review writer, I am obviously obliged to write something here, but the weight of my ink just doesn't seem to cut it.

I was thinking as the notes rose and fell how I would entice you all to see this and I just thought I'd ask you all to imagine the most delightful things that have ever happened to you and attach those memories to this performance.

I was reminded of waves rolling up the beach in Cornwall, squealing as I ran away, with the tide deliciously licking at my heels, but not quite soaking me as I had anticipated and my happy laugh at the escape.

Or the first mouthful of strawberries and clotted cream when the summer season begins.

Or a murmuration, yes, that would be an ideal image and metaphor for this performance because it does indeed sound how the birds look whilst soaring in formation overhead against a bright blue winter sky.

We were told the artists had been given artistic licence to perform some of the pieces with their own interpretation. Sometimes that puts me off, I'm old fashioned when it comes to Vivaldi and like mine 'straight up' so to speak, but this performance, well, I honestly don't know if I'll ever be able to convey how purely amazing it is.

Highlights for me:

Matthew Bruce, Baroque Violin, Telemann's Concerto for four violins's in G major.

Matthew Bruce, Broque Violin
Matthew Bruce, Baroque Violin, Telemann's Concerto for four violin's in G major.

Ben Dollman Principal Second Baroque Violin, holding centre stage for his performance of Telemann's Overture Suite in C Major Water music, had us all stomping our feet!

Ben Dollman Principal Second Baroque Violin
Ben Dollman Principal Second Baroque Violin

Melissa Farrow and Mikaela Oberg on recorders were spellbinding.

Shaun Lee-Chen Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Concertmaster and Baroque violin soloist. Entwining his body around the music, swaying and bending as magically as his bow caresses the violin strings.

Shaun Lee-Chen performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons
Shaun Lee-Chen performing Vivaldi's Four Seasons

Paul Dyer the Co-Founder and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra Artistic Director, also playing the harpsichord, has done a stupendous job putting this, and the other performances together and I thank him very much.

Someone else I'd actually like to thank is Antonio Lucio Vivaldi, 1678 - 1741. (Italian Baroque musical composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher and priest).

I'd like to say thank you for all the many beautiful notes wrapped up as a surprise for us in his Four Seasons and the Italian sonnets accompanying them.

I'd like to say thank you for the music being so absolutely beautiful it kept me right there in the moment where my mind was transfixed.

I'd like to say thank you for writing music capable of transcending centuries and captivating all those who hear it, with age irrelevant.
So thank you Vivaldi, thank you very much.

Thank you also to the City Recital Hall for this performance. It's a truly beautiful setting, with grand acoustics and chandeliers to match the musical mood. It couldn't be held in a more delightfully fitting space.

City Recital Hall Sydney
City Recital Hall Sydney

To the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra I thank you (I'm shaking my head in awe as I write this)….. Ti amo.

Sydney Dates and Times remaining:

Wed 13 November 7pm
Fri 15 November 7pm
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Why? To hear the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra perform Vivaldi's Four Seasons
When: November 15th and 17th 2019 - 7pm
Phone: (02) 8256 2222
Where: City Recital Hall, 2 Angel Place, Sydney, 2000
Cost: $56 - $179
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