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Australian Chamber Orchestra: Baroque Revelry

19 June @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm AEST

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One event on 21 June 2021 at 7:30 pm

Nothing was modest or anodyne about the Baroque, whose name means oddly shaped or imperfect pearl. This wasn’t a neat and pretty world; this was ultra-vibrant – a perfect setting for this exciting collaboration with Belvoir St Theatre.

Here was a period of strong emotions, smells and physical sensations. Europe was tightly packed and alive with energy, its paintings and plays ribald and florid, its societies galvanised by intellectual and religious revolutions. Its music was pulsing with lives that could be sordid as much as sacred. Or even wickedly diabolic as in Tartini’s Devil’s Trill sonata, personified by Principal Violin Satu Vänskä.

Heinrich Biber, whom some have called the musical equivalent of Hieronymus Bosch, was fascinated with the grotesque and the interchangeability of man and beast. While Barbara Strozzi, the most acclaimed female composer to come after Hildegard von Bingen, was a musical trailblazer in more ways than one.

Francesca Caccini explored harmony in dramatic ways that enhanced her storytelling, as seen in her Ciaccona for solo violin, performed by Principal Violin Helena Rathbone.

To fully appreciate this today requires a multi-sensory experience that enhances and explores beyond the music. As Richard Tognetti says, “by engaging with the eye we broaden the bandwidth of the listening experience”. Nothing less than an immersion that all but recreates the smells and energy and adventure of the Baroque.

But be careful, the vividness of Baroque life may come as a shock, and even offend, our delicate 21st century sensibilities!


19 June
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
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Melbourne Recital Centre
Melbourne, VIC 3006 Australia + Google Map
03 9699 3333
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Australian Chamber Orchestra
1800 444 444
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