Canberra in early autumn is an artist’s paradise. The dazzling foliage of the city’s latticed quilt of trees, the cool breezes and crystalline surface of Lake Burley Griffin. The perfect place for a festival. And what would be the equivalent in music of such a refreshing and peaceable atmosphere on a pleasant Sunday morning?

It would be hard to imagine a more enjoyable program than the two pieces performed by members of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra, chamber works by Beethoven and Franz Berwald.

Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra Nicole van Bruggen, Neal Peres Da Costa and Daniel Yeadon. Photo © Peter Hislop

True to their name and growing reputation, the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra players perform on period instruments. The strings play with gut strings and period bows. The keyboard player Neal Peres Da Costa played a fortepiano which was a replica of a Viennese instrument from around 1790. The instrument was borrowed from the ANU’s renowned collection of early keyboard instruments. The pitch was lowered to A-430, noticeably different from the A-440 our contemporary ears are...