Monday, October 24, 2011


But one that did not contain a note of any of the Strauss family and began with Johann Sebastian Bach! However, it did contain two numbers by Josef Lanner, a precursor of the waltz, a composer whose work we hear about more than whose music we actually hear: one piece called Die Werber (The Suitors) and another called Die Romantiker, charming, well-wrought numbers though without that extra spark that the Strausses have.

This was a concert given by the world-Class Australian Chamber Orchestra but without it's musical director, Richard Tognetti, who was sorting out musical affairs in Slovenia, in his place was Benjamin Schmid as director and violin soloist, a very good substitute, so that the Double Violin Concerto by the old Leipzig Protestant wrought it's usual spell with the ACO's live- in second violin, Helena Rathbone, to assist him.

After that beginning all was Viennese, starting with a religious lento for strings composed in 1947 by Korngold on his return from his Hollywood triumphs, alas, a rather charmless, stodgy number. H.K.Gruber's Violin Concerto Nebelste in (1988) was not more entertaining either. Every violin phrase seemed determinedly to contain notes on all four strings with so many pizzicatos that one remembered Mum's warning : it'll never get well, if you pick it'. Not so much Nebelstein, perhaps, as Eine kleine nicht Musik. After the interval, we were soothed by the ingratiating A major Rondo by Schubert. The evening ended with the Viennese version of 'A Knees-up: Wien bleibt Krk' (sic) attributed to the Dutch composer, Georg Breinschmid (born 1973) incorporating elements of Viennese sounds but also the sort of music that the city might have heard when the infidels were last at the gates, 7/4 rhythms and gypsy roulades.

The ACO seemed to enjoy the company, musicianship and playing of their Erstwhllelleader, Benjamin Schmid as much as the Melbourne audience in the Old Town Hall did.