Review of three concerts from start of the Canberra International Music Festival

The Canberra Times

02 de mayo de 2016


This year's Canberra International Music Festival under Roland Peelman's direction is off to a grand start, leaving its transition year behind and moving forward with a program focused on repertoire out of the mainstream and engaging with an exciting range of artists across the generations.

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A chance conversation on a European train between Canberra's Dan Sloss and the Zapico brothers resulted in their inclusion of the ensemble Forma Antiqva in this year's festival.

Saturday afternoon's concert in the Fitters' Workshop was glorious. The three brothers perform as one. There is no evidence of excessive exertion or anxiety –simply uninhibited music. I was struck by the impeccable balance of the instrument voices and the perfect tuning of the ensemble. Even under hot spotlights and in Canberra's dry and unusually warm autumn, the three delicate instruments – theorbo, harpsichord and baroque guitar - remained absolutely in tune with themselves and with each other. It was almost as if the pitch was held in perfection by the shared musicianship of the ensemble, resisting any interference from the elements.

The Song Company joined Forma Antiqva to perform Flecha's El Fuego from Ensaladas, immersing us in the fires of hell and the sweet pure waters of redemption. Kapsberger's Passacaglia was exquisite, the delicate guitar introduction ending with one fragile note gently taken and gracefully developed by the theorbo.

The following Improvisaciones sobre Caponas y Chaconas created a mesmerising reverie creating a contrast to the final Fandango by Scarlatti – a surprisingly different style to his more frequently played keyboard sonatas.

How glorious to hear these musicians and feel the music of 18th century Spain brought to life.

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