Musica Viva combined forces with the multi-talented Camerata, Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra, in a program of late 17th and early 18th baroque music that was focused around the legend of the Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra. Offering some well-known pieces, as well as obscure composers who are rarely performed, the concert provided an intriguing mix.
Chosen to open the concert was little-known English composer, Matthew Locke’s Curtain Tune to his opera, The Tempest,based on Shakespeare’s play. This is a slight piece depicting a calm sea before the storm that erupts at the beginning of the opera. Played by just a string quintet and continuo, the sound seemed thin with gentle flurries of activity as the storm ramps up. Its choice was somewhat obscure, even if the music was pleasant.
It was followed by the full Camerata orchestra with the opera seria of German composer Johann Hasse in his Sinfonia from Marc’Antonio e Cleopatra.Both stately and majestic, emulating contemporary composers Bach and Handel, it was the piece that surely should have opened the concert. This was joyous music very well played and delivered...