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From Our Stage

Handel's Rome Excerpt

Watch an excerpt from the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra's performance of Handel's Rome at Sydney's City Recital Hall, recorded live on 27 February 2021.

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PROGRAM

Giuseppe Antonio Brescianello (c.1690–1758)

Violin Concerto in C major, Bre3
i Allegro
ii Largo
iii Allegro
Soloist: Shaun Lee-Chen

Brescianello was a violinist and composer of the same generation as Bach and Handel. He was born in the northern Italian city of Bologna, but otherwise little is known about his early life. In the first half of the eighteenth century many Italian musicians worked in aristocratic courts outside Italy, and Brescianello spent most of his career, from 1716 to 1751, at the court of the dukes of Württemberg in Stuttgart where he worked his way up to the position of music director. As such he was responsible for composing and conducting performances at court and for the opera. By the middle of the century Stuttgart was becoming one the most important centres of music and opera in Europe (its greatest period would occur under Brescianello’s successor, Jomelli), and Brescianello had at his disposal an exceptionally large orchestra of more than sixty players. He had to contend with rivalry from a German musician who attempted to oust the ‘damned Italian’, and his career was disrupted for some years when the court’s finances collapsed, but he would stay in Stuttgart until the end of his life.

Brescianello wrote one opera (that we know of) and instrumental music featuring the violin. Many of his works have been lost, but those that have survived are full of melodic elegance and rhythmic vitality and show that he had a special feeling for orchestral timbre.

WHAT TO LISTEN FOR

A generation younger than Corelli, Brescianello composed this solo concerto in the modern style popularised by Vivaldi, with three movements in the sequence fast-slow-fast. The fast outer movements are in ritornello form, which Vivaldi is credited with standardising. From the Italian ‘ritorno’, meaning return or refrain, ritornello form is typically used in the fast movements of concertos. The movement is structured around a recurring refrain (the ritornello) which is played by the full orchestra and which is varied each time it returns. The ritornello alternates with episodes for the soloist, which are also varied. Both the first and third movements are strongly reminiscent of Vivaldi, with their energy and drive, and with sequences and imitation between upper and lower strings. The second movement is slow and lyrical, again in the style of Vivaldi. Brescianello would have composed this concerto some thirty years after Corelli first wrote his concerti grossi, and one can hear that by now the writing for the solo violin has become much more elaborate and technically demanding.

Program notes © Lynne Murray 2021
Image Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

Listen

Discover More

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

Paul Dyer AO Artistic Director, Conductor

BAROQUE VIOLIN
Shaun Lee-Chen (Perth)
Matt Bruce (Sydney)
Ben Dollman (Adelaide)
Rafael Font (Sydney)
Matthew Greco (Sydney)
Catherine Shugg (Melbourne)
Aaron Brown (Brisbane)

BAROQUE VIOLA
Monique O'Dea (Sydney)
Marianne Yeomans (Sydney)

BAROQUE CELLO
Anthea Cottee (Sydney)
Rosemary Quinn (Sydney)

VIOLINE
Robert Nairn (Adelaide)

BAROQUE TRUMPET
Leanne Sullivan (Sydney)
Richard Fomison (Brisbane)

BASS SACKBUTT
Brett Page (Sydney)

BAROQUE BASSOON
Jane Gower (Copenhagen)

THEORBO & BAROQUE GUITAR
Tommie Andersson (Sydney)

CHAMBER ORGAN
Heidi Jones (Sydney)

HARPSICHORD
Paul Dyer AO (Sydney)

Photo Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

Concert Program

Want to read the full Handel's Rome concert program, including program notes, musician biographies and more?

Click here to view now.

Image Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

Digital Creatives

Video Director Oliver Miller
Director of Photography David Tran
Camera Operators James Ward-Miller, Cambell Hinshelwood and Sebastian Garcia
Audio Engineer Richard Hundy
Lighting Designer Sophie Pekbilimli
Production Assistant Allister Haire
Editor, Colourist & Audio Mixer Oliver Miller
Video Production Wooden Picket Productions

Photo Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

Oliver Miller

Oliver Miller has had an eclectic career as a filmmaker, cellist, pianist, composer, arranger, sound engineer, music producer, antique restorer, and photographer, and is a co-founder of the improvising ensembles The NOISE string quartet, Amphibious and Bungarribee. Over the last 10 years, Oliver has worked closely with composer Georges Lentz and architect Glenn Murcutt developing the Cobar Sound Chapel, a permanent sound installation currently under construction in the Australian outback.

Early 2019 saw the completion of Electric, a 23-minute short film focused on the world’s first experiments with shock therapy in Italy in 1938. It screened in London as well as in Italy and Australia. During 2020, Oliver has also created a 6-minute film off-shoot titled Electric: The Experiment that is currently in submission to festivals.

Over 2019 and 2020, Oliver has worked extensively directing and creating filmed performances of music and dance including work with Synergy, Taikoz, The Australian String Quartet, Pinchgut Opera, Bandaluzia and The Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.

Oliver has been commissioned by a number of Australian contemporary music and arts organisation to create experimental films including Read/Write Error (2018) for Ensemble Offspring and Video Tunnels (2019) for Backstage music.

In addition to composing music for his own ensembles, Oliver also composes music for film, and has recently composed scores for the successful short films Friends of Mine (2020) and What do you See? (2018).

Oliver has performed extensively as a cello player in Australia, including performing with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra and Sydney Philharmonia. In late 2020, Oliver will feature on a newly released album for the Cutlan String Project, titled Living.

In 2018, Oliver completed a Master of Arts Screen at the Australian Film Television and Radio School with research focused on the convergence of multi-mediality within film. He also completed a Bachelor of Music in cello performance at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

 

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