Reviewed by Ewart Shaw, Saturday 10th July 2016

While the stated and announced aim of the newly formed Adelaide Concert Collective is to bring Adelaide less often performed works, including baroque brass on authentic instruments, its first concert in Adelaide's St Patrick's Church, Adelaide Concert Collective - Mozart and Bach, was solidly mainstream, a very well crafted performance of two relatively familiar works by JS Bach and Mozart.

The concerto BWV 1043 for two violins is in the shape made familiar by Vivaldi, with a slow movement placed between two relatively faster ones, the first marked Vivace and the last marked Allegro. The slow movement is Largo ma non tanto, and the two soloists shined as the theme moved effortless and seamlessly from one to the other, beautifully paced by conductor John Rego. Soloists Janet Anderson and Alison Heike are members of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, and they obviously welcomed the chance to shine, as did their many colleagues in the supporting orchestra.

The ACC obviously have a great deal of pull where musicians are concerned; the four soloists in the Mozart Requiem are well known, but the choir of twenty voices, five to a part, behind them was a roll call of our most experienced choral performers, many of them with solo credentials. That they could field five tenors meant that the tenor line was heard. The quartet of soloists consisted of singers with operatic experience who brought out the drama in the text. Rosalind Martin, soprano, Emma Woehle, alto, Tasso Bouyessis, tenor, and Joshua Rowe, all have very distinctive timbres, but blended well in their ensembles.

Maestro Rego's direction of the forces was unfussy and traditional, his musicians responsive to his directions. I'm a little unsure about one thing. There were pauses between some of the movements which seemed to be dictated by the chirping of a small, very small, child in the audience. I'm a believer in introducing children to music early but there's 'early' and there's 'a bit too early'.

The acoustic in the church is controlled by the flat coffered ceiling which restricts the upward expansion of the sound and pushes it forward. This was especially helpful during the chorus parts of the Requiem. Some years ago I was in Canberra for the exhibition of treasures from the world's great libraries. One display case showed the manuscript of Beethoven's third symphony, a sprawl of notes, but on the other side of the case, the manuscript volume of the Requiem open at the last unfinished page. His handwriting was astonishingly neat, bearing in mind that he was very ill, indeed mortally so, as he composed it.

At a time of financial stringency in the arts and elsewhere in South Australia, the formation of the collective is a bold move and one which deserves all the support it can muster. This is a very good start.

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From This Author Barry Lenny

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