Attracting 300 or so audience members to a classical concert is quite an achievement. As artistic director of the Peninsula Music Festival and appearing as violin soloist, Julia Fredersdorff should be feeling extremely happy and proud. Often outdoor classical concerts take the somewhat easy path of popular classics and rely on an audience that’s more excited about a picnic than listening to serious music. The program had none of that. A Concerto is a piece for single solo instrumentalist accompanied by an orchestra. Often the piece is virtuosic and intended to show of the skills of the soloist. A Concerto Grosso is a piece for a small group of soloists and orchestra. As a form it was most popular in the baroque period (1600-1750). I’m very pleased to report that the audience were silently engaged in the performances.
The program consisted entirely of baroque works. Basically five Concerti Grossi, a solo bassoon concerto and the central work J.S. Bach’s Concerto in d minor for 2 violins, strings and continuo. The orchestra, formed by a nice mix of advanced undergraduate students and professionals played on period style instruments, gut strings on the violins and copies of oboes and bassoons from the early 18th century. Orchestras of this time usually included a harpsichord but today we were also treated to the inclusion of a theorbo, a large bass lute type instrument.
Baroque violin specialist, Enrico Gatti directed the orchestra sometimes conducting whilst other times leading from the violin. His solo playing in the Bach double concerto was sublime but the added highlight was that he shared the concerto with former pupil Julia Fredersdorff.
Careful programming ensured that there was variety in a specialised program of baroque instrumental works. Each of the other concerti featured a different soloist or group of soloists. What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than on the lawn in Flinders?
Enrico Gatti & Julia Fredersdorff (Baroque violin)
Elena Bianchi (bassoon)
Musicians of the Festival Academy Orchestra