Italian violinist Lorenza Borrani, the leader of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and founding member of the democratic orchestral collective, Spira Mirabilis, will make her Australian debut this month joining the Australian Chamber Orchestra as guest director of the Beethoven’s Favourite tour.
A Professor of Violin at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, in her hometown of Florence, Borrani has been leader of the COE since 2008. But it is perhaps her role as a key driver of the self-proclaimed ‘musical laboratory’, Spira Mirabilis, that makes Borrani a perfect candidate to join the ACO as guest director and soloist.
Together they will perform music by Schnittke, Schubert and Beethoven.
Written in 1826, Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op.131 is considered by many to be the greatest work in the string quartet repertoire, and, according to his friend Austrian violinist Karl Holz, it was also Beethoven’s favourite quartet. It was not published until three months after the composer’s death and didn’t receive its first complete public performance until 1835. Such was the hype surrounding this quartet that just five days before his death, Franz Schubert asked to hear it. Karl Holz, who was second violinist in the string quartet that would perform Op.131 for the dying Schubert, wrote “the King of Harmony has sent the King of Song a friendly bidding to the crossing.”
As well as his prolific songwriting, Schubert turned out symphonies, piano music, and chamber music. The Five Minuets with Six Trios, D.89 are from relatively early in his career, written when he was just 16.
Opening the concert is Russian composer Alfred Schnittke’s Sonata for Violin and Chamber Orchestra. Originally for violin with piano accompaniment, the composer himself arranged the orchestrated version in 1968, which in addition to a chamber orchestra requires a harpsichord. While Schnittke’s name results in many furrowed brows, his compositional style is a fusion of many different styles. His works often contain references to historical and contemporary musical forms, to archaic instruments, to high-tech wizardry.
The programme: SCHNITTKE Sonata for Violin and Chamber Orchestra SCHUBERT Five Minuets with Six Trios, D.89 BEETHOVEN (arr.strings) String Quartet in C-sharp minor, Op.131