Saturday, February 07, 2009

Upshaw + ACO = musical bliss

On Monday night DG came down from Castlemaine and we had quick meal in Degraves Street before heading off to Hamer Hall to hear Dawn Upshaw singing with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. 
She sang three songs written for her by the Argentinian Osvaldo Golijov which were very interesting and very enjoyable, the klezmer influence adding extra spice. Then the ACO played Mozart's Symphony No. 29 - it was a taut, crisp performance with natural horns and period oboes and very enjoyable.
After interval Upshaw returned for a set of folksong settings by Bartok, arranged for string orchestra by Richard Tognetti. These songs were completely different in mood from the Golijov, much sparer, but no less enjoyable. Tognetti's arrangements were stunning. Upshaw's control is truly amazing; she's a very generous performer, singing as part of the ensemble, not as a soloist, and makes a real connection with the audience.
Then the ACO played Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, again in an exciting performance.
The night finished with Upshaw returning to sing Richard Strauss' Morgen, with Tognetti lyrically playing the solo. 
Strauss performed on gut strings, at A=430, and with two natural horns, what a thought!
The ACO is certainly one of our national treasures - it's been a couple of years since I've heard them and they've have only got better. I must try to get to more of their concerts this year.

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