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ACO Tour Four – ACO2

The Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO), Tour Four – Tognetti presents ACO2

ACO2 was formed in 2005, and is a part of the Emerging Artists Program created by the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). It is made up of young artists working closely with the artists of the ACO cohort, being mentored and coached by them. ACO2 perform and tour as a separate entity around the country. This program is the first presentation of this second orchestra with members of the ACO on a national subscription tour. For history’s sake: the young artists are: Benjamin Caddy, William Clark, Peter Clark, Monique Lapins, Lachlan O’Donnell, Michael Dahlenburg, Anna Pokorny, Josef Bisits, Liisa Pallandi, and Thibaud Pavolic-Hobba. The orchestra is further supplemented by Carissa Klopoushak, Ike See and Neal Peres Da Costa. Five members of the ACO, Richard Tognetti, Helena Rathbone, Aiko Goto, Timo-Veikko Valve and Christopher Moore lead the ensemble with a guest artist, the cellist, Daniel Muller-Schott.

What a shattering – in a good way – experience for these emerging artists to be in rehearsal and performance on the same concert platform as one of the most remarkable orchestra’s in Australia, led with such passion and concentration by Richard Tognetti. What is even more remarkable and surely must be an added inspirational experience for them, is to observe the preparation and performances given by Daniel Muller-Schott, at so close-hand a position.

Mr Muller-Schott played the Vivaldi Concerto for two cellos in G Minor, RV531 with inspirational focus and form with Mr.Valve. It is one of my favourite pieces and the energetic drive, fierceness of attention and articulation by both men was breathtakingly thrilling. Later, Mr Muller-Schott gave a deeply felt, rendition of the three songs of Ernest Bloch’s FROM JEWISH LIFE (1924). Originally composed for piano and cello, the arrangement we heard with the orchestra, and featuring the cello of Mr Muller-Schott, was commissioned by Steven Isserlis from Christopher Palmer in 1990. The ‘yiddish’ lament and melancholy was striking in its sombre depths and Mr Muller-Schott, himself, seemed to be truly immersed and moved by the playing. I, certainly, was. To tears.

The concert began with a work by Einojuhani Rautavaara, a Finnish composer: The Fiddlers (1952) and finished with Bela Bartok’s DIVERTIMENTO (1939). The Bartok is made of three movements fast-slow-fast – a link to the Baroque concerto grosso of the Vivaldi and Handel given earlier in this concert ( Vivaldi’s Concerto for cello in G major, RV413 and Handel’s Concerto grosso in A major Op.6 No.11 (1739)). The composition of the Divertimento was made in the pervasive gloom of pre-war Europe. The two outer movements beginning with folk song quotations soon move into darker contemplations, whilst the second movement, the Molto Adagio, is particularly ominous and stuttering with oppressive musical expressions of premonition of great distress – “a classic piece of Bartok ‘night-music'”. War broke out the following month.

Stravinsky’s Concerto in D major (1946), was commissioned after World War II and held, it seemed to me, some of the after shock of such carnage. The driving musical pulsating, echoing THE RITE OF SPRING (1913), was an exciting element of this work, a “virtual perpetual motion”. So inspirational is it that Jerome Robbins used it for his ballet scenario, THE CAGE (1951) – he thought it to be “terribly driven and compelled”, harrowing.

A very satisfying concert, as per usual. It was courageous to present these young players amongst such illustrious company. None more so than Mr Tognetti, and, in this concert, with the absolutely transporting passions, devotions and interpretive skills of Daniel Muller-Schott. The zest and beauty of the Haydn encore was a kind of genius from the fingers and bow of this artist.

Worth catching at Angel Place this week and next. There is a 1.30pm concert on Friday. I just might try to go again. Rewarding.