Skip to main content

ACO: Tour Two – Inner Voices

Australian Chamber Orchestra present TOUR TWO, INNER VOICES: BACH & SIBELIUS with Pekka Kuusisto, Guest Conductor.

I had listened to the Music Show (Radio National) on the Saturday before the concert I attended. I thought Pekka Kuusisto sounded very quirky and interesting. This proved to be so. The two Bach pieces, Brandenburg Concerto No.3, BWV 1048 and the Violin Concerto No.2, BWV 1042, were both familiar and so very easy and comforting to hear. Perfectly delightful.

The celebratory work for the 20th Anniversary of Richard Tognetti’s association with the Orchestra commissioned by the ACO from Andrew Ford, BRIGHT SHINERS, was as Mr Ford writes in the program notes “a kind of sparkling music; High-pitched spiccato dots glittering in relief against slowly drifting harmonics.” It was hauntingly mysterious and delicate and led easily into the first Bach piece.

The Sibelius work: String Quartet in D Minor op.56, Voces Intimae (Inner Voices), I had never heard before. The whispering sounds and the folk like echoes and tunes were totally engrossing and begged to be listened to again.

The final work of the program was what drew me to the concert. Timo Alakotila’s Sketches from Folkscenes (2009). Timo Alakotila is a Finnish “composer, arranger, harmonium player and teacher. He is one of the founding members of the folk group JPP and has established a style which blends traditional folk music with tango, jazz and classical influences” Peka Kuusisto is “a long-term fan of JPP’s – a folk group known for their mastery of the legendary fiddling tradition of the region of Kaustinen in Western Finland, and for their capacity to create new music based on that tradition.” This piece of music had all of the fascination of the new and the exploring danger of hearing it. The trendiness of the Scandinavian film and art/contemporary music scene gave the experience, for me, (having just seen the Tomas Alfredson film LET THE RIGHT ONE IN) both a shimmering mysteriousness and a strangely unsatisfactory fulfilment. I had anticipated something else. Something more. I need to hear it again perhaps to enter the work unentangled with anticipation. The two encore pieces were are a delight and a pleasure and maybe more of what I had expected.

Pekka Kuusisto was a great joy to watch at work. It seems “Pekka is unusually free and fluid in his approach and ahas been acclaimed for the spontaneity and freshness in his playing.” On the afternoon of the concert he exhibited a charm and charisma on stage that was fairly seductive and conducive to winning the audience to participate with the orchestra and its offerings. The mixture of the classical awe he exhibits and the fun of the folksong scene meld into giving the audience and his interpretations of the works a freshness and contemporary halo. If ever I needed to recall why Richard Tognetti has the position he has in my concert going life, I just need to see Mr Kuusisto and his infectious bounce. Tantalizingly similar in presence. It seemed to me that the Australian Chamber Orchestra were having a good time with him in charge as well.

A light weight but perfectly charming concert.