The Brandenburg Quartet kicked off their 2018 tour in great style in North Sydney on Saturday night with a great program of pieces for strings. The quartet consists of Shaun Lee-Chen (period violin), Ben Dollman (period violin), Monique O’Dea (period viola) and Jamie Hay (period cello). The foursome are all principal string players from the Aria Award winning Australian Brandenburg Orchestra.
The group played a mix of classical pieces, but also included works by lesser known composers, like Francesco Durante from Naples, who taught at Sant’ Onofrio before becoming the head of the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto. He did not write for stage, but rather sacred music including two requiems and several masses. His concerto is sharp and intense demanding exacting performances.
The rest of the program was filled out with Andreas Romburg (string quartet in F Major, Op.1/3) and Franz Joseph Haydn (string quartet in D minor, Op.76/2). Romburg and Haydn held a longstanding and mutual appreciation of each other’s music. Romburg played with his cousin Bernhard Romberg and the slightly younger Beethoven in the Bonn orchestra in the early 1790s, but styled himself on Haydn whose work he greatly admired.
Haydn in turn promoted Andreas, passing Romberg’s work off as his own, before then revealing Romberg as the composer. The entire program is performed with adept attention to detail, the elaborate passages managed with what appears to be effortless aplomb.
The quartet will be in Perth and Adelaide before the tour concludes. For more information on the Brandenburg Quartet, see: http://www.brandenburg.com.au/