Chamber Music at Burrinja

Zac’s violin teacher was playing in a concert and Kirsten and I went along to Burrinja to watch. Actually I thought Zac was playing. It was only later that I learned that this was incorrect

The show started with a small chamber orchestra. I absolutely loved this early Baroque music. They played pieces that were beautiful and simple.


Then came out the rest of the performers of the Nicholas Chamber Orchestra. I am uncertain of the relationship between the first group and the second. But the second seemed to be a superset of the first.

The first piece was Mendelssohn Violin Concerto featuring soloist Andrew Hall (Violin, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra). I have to say that as a piece I found it slow and tedious and for much of the time too many notes for not much purpose. But Andrew Hall is probably the best violinist I have ever seen play.

While I had been listening I watched each section of the orchestra in turn as I had done with the individual players in the small orchestra at the start. I came to the conclusion that having say, fifteen or so violins did two things. One was that it was obviously louder. But more importantly it was a chorus effect. This I suspect is one of the reasons why I think I am not keen on larger orchestras.

The next piece, the “Italian Symphony” also by Felix Mendelssohn, redeemed everything. I much preferred this piece of music and it was inspirational and well played. For some sections I would even withdraw my previous criticism. Which leads me to my next reason for disliking larger orchestras. I think the music lets them down. An large orchestra is quite hard to write good music for.

The final piece, Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 by J.S. Bach, was a nice piece of Bach goodness in the way that Bach is good.

So all in all it was enlightening. I have always preferred smaller groups and that stands. But now I have a better understanding as to why.


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