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From Our Stage

Boccherini String Trio in G major

Watch Rafael Font, Marianne Yeomans and Anton Baba perform Boccherini’s String Trio in G major, G 108, Op. 47 No. 2 in this new performance for Brandenburg One.

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Luigi Boccherini (1743–1805)


Boccherini came from a large and multi-talented musical family. By the age of thirteen, Luigi was already giving concerts as a cello soloist in his native Lucca and by his early twenties he had embarked on an extended international tour in company with his friend and colleague Manfredi, a violin virtuoso.

The plan was to go to Paris and then on to London, but after six successful months in Paris both men instead headed to Spain and were soon working in the orchestra of the Italian opera based near Madrid. Boccherini’s talents as both a performer and a prolific composer did not go unrecognised and following a long association with the Infante Don Luis Antonio Jaime of Bourbon, Spain would remain his home for the rest of his life. Although he remained in Spain after the death of the Infante, Boccherini became the official chamber music composer of King Frederick William II of Prussia, himself a fine cellist.

This String Trio in G major, Op. 47 No. 2, comes from a set of 6 string trios composed in 1793 and their intimate and conservative nature suggests Boccherini intended them for the king’s personal pleasure. The longer opening Andantino movement and concluding minuet are attractive, yet unpretentious for both performer and listener.


Background Art Work: Nicholas Poussin, Landscape with a Calm, c. 1651, oil on canvas, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.


Program Notes: Joanna Butler & Hugh Ronzani, 2020
Additional Program Notes: © Alan Maddox, 2002




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His improvised embellishments were constantly surprising and towards the end his manner definitely created some audible chuckles from around the audience. A very fine fiddler indeed.

Rafael Font started his violin studies at the age of five in his hometown of Caracas, Venezuela.

After completing high school, Rafael moved to London to attend the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he obtained a Bachelor of Music on violin under the tutelage of Jacqueline Ross, while also taking Baroque violin lessons with Pavlo Beznosiuk.

During his time in Europe, Rafael worked with many leading British early music groups including the Academy of Ancient Music, La Nuova Musica, La Serenisima, Poeticall Musicke and Charivari Agreable. He was also a participant in the Ann and Peter Law Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment Experience scheme. Rafael performed in many of the most important music venues of the UK including the Royal Albert Hall, Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Barbican Hall, York Cathedral and St George’s Bristol under the baton of artists such as Sir Colin Davis, Marin Alsop, William Christie and Richard Egarr.

Rafael pursued postgraduate studies in Baroque and Classical violin at the Royal Conservatoire of the Hague with teachers Kati Debretzeni and Walter Reiter, where his main topic of research was the writing of cadenzas in Mozart’s violin concertos. A highly versatile performer, Rafael has interests ranging from XVII Monteverdi to XIX Tchaikovsky in both violin and viola.

Since moving to Sydney, Rafael performs regularly with Australia’s leading early music ensembles including the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Haydn Ensemble and Salut! Baroque. Rafael is also a dedicated music teacher, regularly tutoring violin and viola and conducting ensembles across several schools in Sydney.

Rafael is a founding member of the Muffat Collective, one of the most exciting new early music small ensembles in Sydney. The Muffat Collective was formed by four friends who met while studying in the Royal Conservatoire of The Hague, bringing bravura and historical style to the trio sonata repertoire of the XVII and XVIII centuries.

View an interview with Rafael Font here

Biography: Rafael Font, 2020
Image Credit: Georges Antoni, 2019


Marianne began learning the violin at the age of 7 after finding she was too small to play the viola, which was her first choice. She started on the viola when she was 14 and continued to study both instruments at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music High School.

Marianne then went on to gain her Bachelor of Music from the Sydney Conservatorium and soon after headed to the UK, where she continued postgraduate studies at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. She studied both Modern and Baroque viola at the RNCM with Pedrag Katanic and Annette Isserlis. It was during her time in the UK that Marianne also found her love of chamber music and gained her Master of Music in String Quartet Performance with Distinction. 

Marianne spent several years in the UK touring and playing with the Rivoli String Quartet as well as the BBC Philharmonic and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras. The pull of the Australian outdoor lifestyle was eventually too strong to ignore and Marianne headed back to Australia in 2008. Since returning to Australia, Marianne has enjoyed playing with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and is also a sought-after musician, enjoying a lively and varied career performing with Australia’s leading ensembles and orchestras on both period and modern violas.

View an interview with Marianne Yeomans here.

Biography: Marianne Yeomans, 2020
Image Credit: Georges Antoni, 2019


Anton is an Australian-born violoncellist specialising in historically informed performance practice. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in classical cello at the Eastman School of Music in USA (2006) and Master’s Degree in Baroque cello at the Royal Conservatorium, The Hague (2013), where he simultaneously undertook studies in viola da gamba. He has performed regularly across Europe with leading period ensembles.

Since returning to Australia in 2018, Anton has been a regular member of Pinchgut Opera, Australian Haydn Ensemble, Australian Romantic and Classical Orchestra, Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and is a core member of the Muffat Collective.

Aside from performing, Anton is a dedicated teacher and educator providing music lessons and ensemble coaching for students across Sydney. As a member of the ACO Foundations team, Anton has been giving free music lessons at St Marys North Public School. This is an exciting program designed to provide music lessons to students at a critical stage of their early development, building lasting benefits across their academic and creative skills.

Biography: Anton Baba, 2020



The violin acquired its principal characteristics in Italy during the second half of the 16th century, these being the curved belly and backpiece, the instrument's typical shape, the different woods used (maple for the backpiece, the sides of the neck, spruce for the belly), the four strings tuned a fifth apart, and, as some would have it, its secret varnishes. Violin makers of that period made instruments that have a great reputation even today, the luthiers Amati and Da Solo being but two examples, while violins that were made by luthiers of the 17th and 18th century Italian school such as Stradivarius and Guarnerius are the most coveted by today’s great violinists. We should, however, note that all these venerable instruments underwent various important structural modifications during the 19th century that were to make them more powerful in tone, thus meeting the demands of larger concert halls and of new works written for the instrument.

Baroque FAQ: © Jérôme Lejeune, 2013


The viola is constructed similarly to the violin, but its body is slightly larger, the strings slightly thicker, and the bow is generally slightly heavier. Compared to a modern viola, a period viola has gut, rather than metal strings, a shorter fingerboard, and the neck is at a flatter angle to the body of the instrument. The viola has tended to be thought of as the Cinderella of the orchestra, overshadowed by the more brilliant violin and sonorous cello and used primarily to fill in the middle parts of the harmony, but from about 1740 it was increasingly treated as a solo instrument in concertos, a trend started by Telemann.

Baroque FAQ: © Lynne Murray & Alan Maddox, 2006


The cello as we know it today was initially developed in the late 17th century as a smaller variant of the Bass Violin, a now obsolete instrument sized a little larger than the cello and with a gruffer, more double bass-like timbre. While the cello did not carry the bass line as weightily as the bass violin, it was more agile, and its bright upper harmonics made it much more versatile as a solo instrument. Usually played without the supporting end pin or ‘spike’ seen on modern cellos, and with gut strings, the 18th century cello produces a clear, luminous sound perfectly suited to both the lyrical and virtuosic elements of the music of Haydn and Boccherini.

Baroque FAQ: © Alan Maddox, 2002

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