The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra’s annual Noël! Noël!concerts have been a tradition for the group for decades, beginning the holiday season with some of the most festive music that the baroque period offers. Filled joy and warmth, the concerts steer clear of serious repertoire, choosing to focus on more celebratory and fun fare. In 2020 though, along with so many other performances, it seemed that maybe this tradition would have to be broken. However, Brandenburg has been able to bring their Christmas cheer to City Recital Hall as always with flare and some much-needed cheer.

Hannah Lane playing baroque harp at Noël! Noël!Photograph © Keith Saunders

Led by Artistic Director Paul Dyer AO, the orchestra (of at most 14) faced some logistical obstacles; the musicians had to be spaced – with the brass players three metres behind the others up at the back of the stage. Normal orchestral and choral formations fell by the wayside. The orchestra rose to the occasion with panache though, presenting an admirably eclectic program.

Both the orchestra and the choir were in fine form. Aided by the...