Dan Russell and Pip Thompson. Photograph: Peter Hislop.

Music / Vivaldi’s  “4 Seasons”, Phoenix Collective Quartet. At Wesley Uniting Church, November 4. Reviewed by GRAHAM McDONALD.

THIS was as gratifying a efficiency of Vivaldi’s well-known set of concertos by the Phoenix Collective Quartet, augmented by harpsichordist Ariana Odermatt.

The 4 concertos have been first printed as half of a bigger set of 12 concertos written between 1716 and 1725, however the others have pale into obscurity. That is early “program music”, with the music describing the climate and rural actions in an Italian village over the seasons of the 12 months.

The 4 concertos are often performed with little or no break between them. Phoenix Collective director Dan Russell cleverly separated every concerto with a spoken introduction, outlining what every motion of the concertos represented musically (generally with brief examples) which made every work fairly distinct. He additionally learn brief extracts from the descriptive poetry that was initially printed with the music in 1725.

Phoenix Collective, from left, Dan Russell, Pip Thompson, Ariana Odermatt, Ella Brinch and Andrew Wilson. Photograph: Peter Hislop.

Additionally it is a showpiece for solo violin and PCQ chief Dan Russell, who was clearly having fun with himself with some intelligent harmonics and spectacular taking part in with the opposite 4 musicians offering tight accompaniment with the orchestra components stripped down to at least one instrument every. This enables no room for error in both pitch or phrasing and so they rose to the event splendidly.

The timing and the dynamics have been a delight. Odermatt’s harpsichord rippled away quietly within the background all through, although it does get a featured spot within the sluggish motion of the third (autumn) concerto the place arpeggiated chords sit underneath lengthy sustained notes from the strings.

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This was music carried out with a great deal of good humour and affection, ending with a brief association of “Lose Your self to Dance”, from French digital duo Daft Punk. It fitted remarkably effectively.

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Ian Meikle, editor