Sunday, June 28, 2015

Richard Egarr, Satu Vänskä and the ACO

Harpsichord waiting for Egarr to appear
Baroque music. Somehow the name sounds so staid, as if the music might be constrained by tight corsets. Women did wear corsets in the 16th and 17th century but there was an exuberance in fashion at that time and if  the baroque concert I heard yesterday is any indication, that is what we should judge the music by.

Baroque music expert Richard Egarr conducted from the keyboard, or keyboards actually because he played three 'old' instruments.

Richard Egarr (from ACO website)
Egarr is a pleasure of a man, explaining to his delighted audience what they should be listening for in the context of the time and teasing the orchestra by his unexpected improvisations which is, he said, exactly what baroque musicians would have done. (In Melbourne a mobile phone went off and Egarr reportedly improvised to include the mobile tune in his playing.) The Australian Chamber Orchestra, who accompanied him obviously enjoyed Egarrs theatrical flourishes and whimsical  improvisations.

Another great pleasure of the concert was hearing ACO Principal Violin Satu Vänskä play the solo lead in Bach's Concerto for Violin in A minor. She  has the most malleable right arm of any violinist I have seen. It flows in a mesmerisingly fluid dance as she plays. She reminded me of a weeping willow in the second movement, swaying and bending as she played. She was supported by the delicate and precise playing of her ACO colleagues and it made me feel like weeping.

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