The concert presented by the Australian Chamber Choir in the Ballarat Central Uniting Church, as part of the Organs of the Ballarat Goldfields Fine Music Festival, raised some interesting questions about what is romantic music.
With works ranging from Late Renaissance composer Monteverdi to contemporary Australian Brenton Broadstock, the programme delivered many manifestations of romanticism beyond the traditional nineteenth century interpretation.
The choir displayed virtuosity, balance and thrilling vocal textures under the guidance of director Douglas Lawrence. Samuel Barber's "Adagio" in the Agnus Dei arrangement and Elizabeth Anderson's arrangement of Elgar's "Nimrod" as Lux Aeterna stood out with their emotional intensity.
Pianist Joe Chindamo and violinist Zoe Black's concert at Mary's Mount was an exhilarating affair as some quite familiar music was given a new perspective. The sense of freedom and improvisation put sparkle into the performance as different styles overlapped. From Handel to Bizet, and Gershwin to Lutoslawski, there was a surprise at every turn and always a sense of enjoyment.
From Handel to Bizet, and Gershwin to Lutoslawski, there was a surprise at every turn and always a sense of enjoyment
Czech organist Pavel Kohout's two recitals, at St. Patrick's Cathedral and St. John's Creswick, featured largely eighteenth and nineteenth century repertoire, brilliantly played. Among the great variety of works the Passacaglia and Fugue in Cm of JS Bach was an exceptional performance of precision and clarity.
Festival artistic director and organist Sergio de Pieri explored a selection of JS Bach Preludes and Fugues with an elegant recital in the former Wesley Methodist Church at Clunes.
Also at Clunes, in St. Paul's Church, soprano Luisa Hunter-Bradley and Donald Nicolson, organ and harpsichord, took the audience into the sacred world of seventeenth century Italy, specifically the music of Frescobaldi. Nicolson, as a late replacement for David McFarlane, fulfilled the role with aplomb. With keyboard virtuosity and a broad knowledge of the style, a perfect foil for Hunter-Bradley's finely controlled singing. The ensemble work was excellent.