REVIEW: What: Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival
Who: Four Seasons on a Summer Evening – Opus Orchestra
Soloist: Lara Hall
Reviewed by: Andrew Buchanan-Smart
A beautiful backdrop with the Turtle Lake behind the strings of Opus provided a perfect setting for the opening performance of this festival.
The drive and energy captured in the opening allegro of Mozart's ever popular Eine kleine Nachtmusik, was well maintained throughout with a pulsating energy which pervaded the work, though interspersed with the grace of the second theme. The Romanze: andante captured an intimate and tender mood. The Menuetto: Allegretto was forthright while the rondo was lively with its rhythmic pulse.
Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, composed for an ensemble of soloists, was vibrant in the outer allegros.
In Vivaldi's Four Seasons, where each of the four violin concertos is associated with a sonnet, which describes the scenes depicted in the music, Lara Hall brought the sonnets/seasons alive as she painted a vivid portrait that characterised the original poems in a rustic setting. The images of flowing creeks, singing birds (of different species), barking dogs, buzzing mosquitoes, crying shepherds, storms, drunken dancers, silent nights, hunting parties from both the hunters' and the prey's point of view, frozen landscapes, ice-skating children, and warming winter fires were masterfully captured in a performance full of poetry, beauty, humour and life.
It was a lovely evening, where both Opus and Lara Hall breathed new life into a familiar story in a most enjoyable concert.
*Please note, the reviewer is a life member of the organisation.