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From Our Stage

Higher Angels Excerpt

Watch an excerpt from the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra's performance of Higher Angels at Sydney's City Recital Hall, recorded live on 24 April 2021.

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PROGRAM

Handel Chaconne from Terpsicore, HWV 8b
Handel ‘Felicissima quest’alma’ from Apollo e Dafne, HWV 122

 

PROGRAM NOTES

George Frideric Handel (1685–1759)

Handel first visited London at the end of 1710, staying six months and launching his career there with the hugely successful opera Rinaldo in February 1711. He was only 25 years old, but he already had an established reputation as a composer in Italy and in his native Germany, where he had recently been appointed music director for the Elector of Hanover.

Just over a year later he was back, this time permanently. Undertaking the joint roles of composer and impresario, for over 20-odd years he mounted a series of phenomenally successful seasons of Italian opera for the London stage, including masterpieces such as Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) and Alcina.

CHACONNE FROM TERPSICORE, HWV 8B

Handel’s second London opera was Il pastor fido in 1712, which he revived in 1734. His theatre manager had hired a dance troupe led by a famous French dancer, Marie Sallé, and for her Handel composed a new prologue in which she portrayed Terpsicore, the muse of dance. The work consists of contrasted dance movements, including this Chaconne, a courtly French dance.

ARIA ‘FELICISSIMA QUEST’ALMA’ FROM APOLLO E DAFNE, HWV 122

Apollo e Dafne is a dramatic cantata. A cantata is a short vocal work, which could be for various forces but was on a much smaller scale than an opera or oratorio. This cantata is considered to be one of Handel’s finest. Most of his many Italian secular cantatas date from the two years or so that he worked in Rome as a young man. He probably began composing this one in Venice when he spent some time there in 1709 and finished it in Hanover in 1710, shortly after he started working for the Elector. It is thought that it was first performed in London to celebrate the birthday of Queen Anne.

The text of a secular cantata was based on classical mythology like this one, which centres on the god Apollo’s passion for the nymph, Dafne. He first sees her when she sings this graceful aria which features a solo oboe. In the end Dafne turns herself into a laurel-tree to avoid him.

Felicissima quest’alma,
Ch’ama sol la libertà.
Non v’è pace, non v’è calma
Per chi sciolto il cor non ha.

Happiest is this soul,
Who loves only freedom.
There is no peace, there is no rest
For the one whose heart is not free.

 

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Program Notes: Lynne Murray, 2021
Image Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

 

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Discover More

Sarah Macliver

Sara Macliver is one of Australia’s most popular and versatile artists, and is regarded as one of the leading exponents of Baroque repertoire.

Sara is a regular performer with all the Australian symphony orchestras as well as the Perth, Melbourne and Sydney Festivals, Pinchgut Opera, the Australian Chamber Orchestra and Australian Brandenburg Orchestra, Musica Viva, and a number of international companies.

Sara records for ABC Classics with more than 35 CDs and many awards to her credit.

In 2017/18 Sara sang with Sydney Symphony Orchestra, West Australian Opera, West Australian Symphony Orchestra and Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, the Australian String Quartet, St George’s Cathedral, the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and in several programs with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra; she also sang with Bangalow Festival, St George’s Cathedral and Collegium Musicum amongst many other projects. Sara recorded a CD of Calvin Bowman songs which was released last year.

In 2019 Sara sang with the West Australian, Tasmanian, Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Philharmonia, Ten Days on the Island, the Peninsula Summer Festival, Brisbane Camerata and ANAM amongst others.

Sara has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Western Australia in recognition of her services to singing.

Australian Brandenburg Orchestra

Paul Dyer AO Artistic Director, Conductor

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

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

BAROQUE CELLO
Jamie Hey (Melbourne)
Anthea Cottee (Sydney)
Rosemary Quinn (Sydney)

VIOLONE
Robert Nairn (Adelaide)

BAROQUE OBOE
Adam Masters (Melbourne)
Kirsten Barry (Sydney)

BAROQUE BASSOON
Ben Hoadley (Canberra)

THEORBO & BAROQUE GUITAR
Tommie Andersson (Sydney)

HARPSICHORD
Paul Dyer AO (Sydney)

Photo Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

Concert Program

Want to read the full Higher Angels 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 Kim Batterham, Ben Bellette and Cambell Hinshelwood
Audio Engineer Richard Hundy
Lighting Designer Sophie Pekbilimli
Editor, Colourist & Audio Mixer Oliver Miller
Video Production Wooden Picket Productions

Photo Credit: Keith Saunders, 2021

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