Performing for only the second time in Victoria, the Australian Hayden Ensemble will bring the music of Schubert to Ballarat next week.
As part of the 24th Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields festival, which celebrates traditional classical music, the ensemble will perform as a quintet with baritone singer David Greco.
The ensemble’s musical director, Skye McIntosh, said the two performances, in Ballarat and Beaufort, were particularly special.
“This particular program we’re presenting, the Schubert lieders (songs with accompaniment), everyone who’s seen it came away saying it was powerful,” she said.
“We spent quite a lot of time developing it - in the 18th century style, which we specialise in - and (festival organiser) Judy Houston loved the program so much she asked if we could extend it over two days.”
The quintet is in high demand, playing across New South Wales during the year, and most recently at the Mornington Peninsula this week.
Playing in regional areas is a rare opportunity for people to hear something new.
“I think it’s fantastic there’s festivals like Organs of the Goldfields, and I think it’s important that people from the city are bringing high-quality music to these areas, otherwise you don’t get to hear it,” Ms McIntosh said.
“It’s a chance to get up close and relax, we can chat to everyone and we find that’s an important part of what we do.”
The music itself focuses on the seasons, reflecting on the festival’s theme of death and resurrection, with Mr Greco adding a special element to bring the pieces to life.
“It’s a whole journey, this particular program, as a pastiche, it’s exploring these different guises of mortality that Schubert explored in his lieder,” she said.
“It’s woven together in a way that takes you through that thought process, as well as being quite beautiful.”
The performances have also been in the works for some time - the pieces, originally from the 1700s and early 1800s - were rearranged for the ensemble in 2016, and performed throughout 2018.
Ms McIntosh added she was excited to perform at the festival for the first time ever with like-minded acts.
“We’ve known about the festival for quite a while, we’ve been keen to come,” she said.
“It feels like a place we should be - the festival has a lot of historically informed groups there, and we’ve been keen to perform there because that’s what we’re all about.”
The Ballaarat Mechanics Institute performance is on Monday, January 14 at 8pm, while the Beaufort performance at St Andrew’s Uniting Church is at 11am, with a repeat performance at 3pm.
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