The High Summer instalment of the Four Seasons Festival, in St.John’s Church Creswick, was dedicated to the strong tradition of early music scholarship and performance in this country. The fascination with Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music remains as strong as ever in teaching institutions and the wider community, with exotic sounds and instruments speaking of a very different style of music-making.
The Saturday concert featured tenor Robert Mcfarlane and Rosie Hodgson (lute) in a wonderfully intimate performance of English and French songs by composers well-known eg Morley and Dowland, and lesser known but highly skilful songwriters. Mcfarlane was outstanding in intonation and clarity of text in recreating the character of what the music would have sounded like. Hodgson’s solid technique and sympathetic accompaniment contributed to the authenticity of the result.
On Sunday six students from the Early Music department of Melbourne University, as the ensemble Trillo, presented a programme of mostly dance pieces. The playing was not only enthusiastic and energetic but highly refined, showing the depth of commitment to understanding the style and history of this music. With a variety of instruments from the harpsichord to the hurdy-gurdy, Trillo produced a colourful orchestral sound with the recorder, strings and percussion. Commencing with a solo estampie, an exciting medieval dance, played on the historic organ in St.John’s, and ending with another estampie performed by the entire ensemble, the complex musical journey was elegantly executed.
The two Autumn concerts will be on May 5 and 6 in St.Paul’s Anglican Church, Clunes.