The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra brightens the Autumn music scene with an intimate program of Romantic chamber music at metropolitan and regional venues.
The orchestra’s EVOKE program recalls the salons and living rooms of the early nineteenth century, featuring Beethoven’s Trio in E flat major, Op.38 and the delightful Grand Septet by underappreciated Swedish composer Franz Berwald. For this program, ARCO enters chamber music mode, providing audiences with the opportunity to hear some of Australia’s finest musicians in a more intimate setting. ARCO’s co-artistic director Rachael Beesley leads six other world-class musicians in Berwald’s piece, while Beethoven’s Trio, will be performed by co-artistic director Nicole van Bruggen with cellist Daniel Yeadon and Neal Peres da Costa at the keyboard. The popularity of works composed for larger chamber ensembles of winds and strings in the early 19th century, saw Beethoven’s Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20, rise to the very peak of the genre: so successful was it that publishers released multiple arrangements of it for different-sized ensembles, prompting Beethoven to write his own trio arrangement for clarinet, cello and fortepiano – his Op.38. The piece loses none of its genius in its revoicing, with an arrangement so natural and convincing it sounds like it could have been written for these forces.
Influenced by Beethoven’s Septet, and with a clear inheritance from other composers like Schubert, Spohr and Weber, the delightful Grand Septet by Swedish composer Franz Berwald is an inspired work by an often-overlooked composer. Building on short thematic fragments that mimic village tunes and dances, there is innovative writing at play – the second movement features a scherzo in the middle of an adagio! But it’s not all sweetness and light, as occasional harmonic twists hint at tensions that never fully resolve.
The program: Ludwig van Beethoven: 3 Equali for four trombones, WoO 30/ Franz Berwald: Grand Septet in B-flat major for clarinet, horn, bassoon, violin, viola, cello & bass/ Ludwig van Beethoven: Trio in E-flat major, Op.38 for clarinet, cello and fortepiano (after Septet, Op.20)
Other Sydney and regional performances: Sunday 25 April | 7.30pm Blackheath Chamber Music Festival/ Monday 26 April | 6.30pm R J Phipps Performance Centre, The Hills Grammar School/ Friday 7 May | 7.00pm Upper Hunter Conservatorium of Music, Muswellbrook/ Saturday 8 May | 4.00pm Adamstown Uniting Church, Newcastle