When the solar and stars got here out collectively

Australian Haydn Ensemble taking part in at Wesley Uniting Church. Picture by Peter Hislop

MUSIC / “Haydn’s Solar & Mendelssohn’s Stars”, Australian Haydn Ensemble. At Wesley Uniting Church, February 16. Reviewed by IAN McLEAN.

CHURCH buildings are likely to have fantastic pure acoustics and the Wesley Uniting Church confirmed this idea with the Australian Haydn Ensemble sounding lush, slick, exact and superbly balanced on this live performance. 

The ensemble, based in 2012 to specialise within the repertoire of the late baroque and early classical eras, performs in quite a lot of sizes and mixtures starting from string or flute quartet or quintet proper by to a whole orchestra. For this live performance it was the string quartet exploring the musical evolution of the fugue.

The timelines have been most attention-grabbing. JS Bach wrote “The Artwork of the Fugue” within the early 1740s, aged in his mid-50s and scuffling with unwell well being. 

He didn’t fairly end the final of the 20 fugues within the set earlier than his demise in 1750. Twenty or so years later Haydn wrote his “Solar” quartets, the change in type fairly remarkably completely different from that of Bach. 

Forty years on and additional superb improvement when an 18-year-old Felix Mendelssohn burst on to the scene together with his massively imaginative experiment within the fugue type – the “String Quartet No 2 in A, Op.13”. 

The gifted and vastly skilled members of the string quartet – Skye McIntosh and Matthew Greco (violins), Karina Schmitz (viola) and Daniel Yeadon (cello) – play devices made within the late 1700s, the interval wherein the fugues have been composed. This made for an attention-grabbing synergy.

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The live performance was offered in chronological order opening with Bach’s fugues I-IV from “The Artwork of Fugue”. These fairly marvellously demonstrated the strategy of counterpoint and the way advanced and imaginative the composer turns into as a easy theme is developed and enhanced. 

In comparison with the works that adopted, the Bach fugues appear considerably sullen, solemn and maybe dreamy – possibly “Moon” in distinction to “Solar” and “Stars”? The quartet mastered the ever rising complexity of the writing with consummate ease, tightness of rhythm a function.

The Haydn quartet was gentle hearted and written maybe with the necessity for leisure an rising requisite. Extra flowing and swish in type it was simple to think about it being loved by an viewers within the residence of Depend Esterhazy, Haydn’s patron on the time. Dynamic management and distinction, together with wonderful stability and mix, featured within the taking part in of this joyous piece.

A special type but once more was very evident within the Mendelssohn with pace, agility and depth pitched towards dramatic, drawn-out slower sections. The third motion “Intermezzo” was a shocking spotlight. Enjoying was completely clear and concise with superb dexterity and perfection within the unison rhythmic patterns. The managed sound, significantly from the cello, was pleasant.

Superb musicianship was on show all through this pleasing live performance however there was a tangible bonus as properly – an actual schooling in music historical past and the chance to glean a better understanding in regards to the improvement of the type of the fugue.