Season Preview: Your guide to the arts in 2022

The Australian Haydn Ensemble has announced its 2022 concert season, celebrating ten years of music making with its biggest-ever season, including a debut appearance at Adelaide Festival, an Australian period-instrument premiere at the Canberra International Music Festival and five mainstage performances.

Australian Haydn Ensemble 2022 concert season

Australian Haydn Ensemble celebrate their 10th anniversary in their 2022 concert season. Image © Helen White

Their anniversary year kicks off at Adelaide Festival in March, with a remarkable program featuring Erin Helyard. Haydn’s Solar Poetics features three concerts on the same day, with Haydn’s Morning, Noon and Night symphonies tracing the sun’s path across the heavens. All three were composed in 1761, a major year in Haydn’s life as he entered the Esterházy court where he would compose so much of his remarkable output. These concerts will also feature contemporaneous music by CPE Bach and a very young Mozart, and Helyard will perform all three authorised keyboard concerti of Haydn.

In April, the ensemble will present the Australian period-instrument premiere of Haydn’s monumental oratorio The Creation as the opening salvo of the Canberra International Music Festival. Performed alongside Sydney Chamber Choir and conducted by the festival’s Artistic Director Roland Peelman, this is a true festival event of the sort that only comes around rarely.

The ensemble opens its own mainstage season in February by focussing on another landmark year for a major composer. Mozart: Viennese Star takes us back to 1782, and Mozart’s breakthrough in Vienna. At 25 he was already a celebrated performer and composer, but this was really the first time he had stepped out of his father’s grasp, and he flourished. In this same year he joined an amateur string quartet led by no less than Haydn, whose Op. 33 quartets were about to revolutionise the genre. Mozart was so in awe of the older man that he wrote his own set of six quartets, which he dedicated to his mentor. The sixth quartet in this set, the famous ‘Dissonance’ quartet, features in this concert alongside Haydn’s Op. 33, No 5, and a quartet by their contemporary Boccherini.

In August, the AHE recreates the musical traditions of the early 19th century by bringing masterpieces into the living room. At a time when standing orchestras were a rarity, it took royalty (or at least a moneyed lord) to be able to afford to gather enough musicians together for a full symphony performance. And so many took matters into their own hands, literally, and the demand for scaled-down versions of famous works, which could be performed in the home, was great. This concert presents Girolamo Masi’s arrangement of Beethoven’s ‘Eroica’ Symphony for septet, Giambattista Cimador’s reduction of Mozart’s Symphony No 40, and the first movement of Austrian composer Paul Wranitzky’s own arrangement his Grande sinfonie caractéristique pour la paix avec la République françoise (La Paix), a musical depiction of the French Revolution.

John Bell joins the ensemble in October for Haydn Speaks, a hybrid musical/theatrical/biographical performance written by young playwright Rachel McDonald. McDonald takes historical sources, letters from Haydn and a smattering of artfully-constructed fakes to realise a portrait of Haydn the man. Bell presents as Papa to recount his life and comment on his posthumous reputation, joined by a quintet of AHE’s musicians to illustrate and soundtrack his remarkable life.

To draw the anniversary year to a close, AHE celebrates the Enlightenment, the extraordinary fusion of artistic and scientific ideas that defined the era, and the musical shift underway that would ultimately herald the dawn of the Classical era. CPE Bach is the centrepiece of this program, including his G Major Symphony, and his Cello Concerto in A Major, performed by Daniel Yeadon; the younger Bach’s godfather, Telemann, makes an appearance in the form of his La Bizarre suite. And perhaps no one personifies the Enlightenment’s marriage of art and science better than William Herschel: a famous astronomer who discovered Uranus on his homemade telescope, in his youth he had been a celebrated violinist, engaged by Charles Avison as first violin and soloist for his Newcastle orchestra. Herschel’s Sinfonia No 8 in C Minor opens the program.

See the full details of the season at the Australian Haydn Ensemble’s website.