Charismatic Cuban Lixsania Fernandez takes on Baroque tango in her Australian debut with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra in Lixania And ‘The Labyrinth’ after Artistic Director Paul Dyer heard her playing in a monastery at music festival in France last year. “She’s a powerful musician with charisma to burn, and I couldn’t keep my eyes off her for a second. She’s vibrant, buoyant, beautiful, and plays this cool instrument with refinement and beauty,” he says. Lixsania is a virtuoso and modern-day champion of the viola da gamba, a stringed instrument with frets played with a bow and placed between the legs. It was one of the most popular instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque times but is rarely heard today.
On this tour, Lixsania will play music by Vivaldi and German composer Johann Graun, as well as something left field for a baroque orchestra – a tango! The concerto tango was written in 2001 by Renato Duchiffre (a nom-de-plume of Cleveland-based baroque cellist and gamba player René Schiffer), for Baroque orchestra with two viola da gambas taking centre stage. These instruments, synonymous with the French aristocratic court, lead the band in a sizzling and seductive ten-minute tango, a dance with origins in the brothels and bars of Buenos Aires.
Also in this concert series, the Brandenburg’s Concertmaster Shaun Lee-Chen will take on one of the most challenging of violin concertos, Locatelli’s famed and feared ‘Labyrinth’. Locatelli’s work profoundly influenced violin playing in the 18th century. He ominously inscribed on the manuscript, the words ‘Harmonic Labyrinth: easy to enter; difficult to exit’.
The musicians: Lixsania Fernandez (Cuba) viola da gamba soloist/ Shaun Lee-Chen Baroque violin soloist/ Australian Brandenburg Orchestra/ Paul Dyer AO Artistic Director & harpsichord
Concert program: CORELLI, SCARLATTI, MARAIS Folia pasticcio / LOCATELLI Violin Concerto in D ‘Il laberinto armonico’, Op. 3 No. 12 /
VIVALDI Concerto for 2 violins & viola da gamba, RV 578 / GRAUN Concerto for Viola da Gamba in G Major /VIVALDI Sinfonia al Santo Sepolcro, RV 169 /DUCHIFFRE Tango from Concerto for 2 Violas da Gamba (with Anthea Cottee)
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