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Adelaide Town Hall Tours

Jan 1, 2019 - Jan 1, 2029 10am

Go on a fascinating tour of the building guided by City of Adelaide's passionate and knowledgeable volunteers.

Learn about the building's architecture, world famous organ, history, and Colonel William Light: British military officer and the first Surveyor-General of the Colony of South Australia.

Arvo Pärt & Shostakovich

Mar 31, 2020 7PM

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Joy and creativity can’t be held down forever, so even in the darkest decades of cruel oppression that spread from Soviet Russia through Eastern Europe in the 20th century, music bloomed and imaginations flew. Humour, black as some of it may have been, also thrived. This was life, as the Russians like to say, “laughing through tears”.

Estonian Arvo Pärt is one of the most performed and influential living composers. In his deeply loved work Tabula Rasa, for two violins, prepared piano and orchestra, he extends “small steps of tolerance to the world”, seeking spirituality and independence through silence and harmony.

Meanwhile, within Russia, Shostakovich and Prokofiev represented two still hotly contested strands: the supposed collaborators and the resisters. Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony in C minor, a signature piece for the virtuosic ACO, was a lament for victims of fascism and war, but also an act of self-reflection whose movements evolve from elegy and brutal force into acceptance and farewell.

Resistance will be whispered, literally, during Saariaho’s Nymphéa: Misterioso. The short piece by the Finnish composer, whose country has always had a complicated and delicate relationship with its large neighbour, Russia, includes a poem by the great 20th-century Russian poet, Arseny Tarkovsky, which will be whispered by members of the Orchestra.

Richard Tognetti - Director & Violin
Satu Vänskä - Violin,
Australian Chamber Orchestra

KILAR Orawa 8′
ARVO PÄRT Tabula Rasa 26′
PROKOFIEV Sonata for Solo Violin in D major* 13′
KAIJA SAARIAHO Nymphéa: Misterioso (arr. strings) – Australian Premiere 3′
SHOSTAKOVICH Chamber Symphony (arr. Barshai) 23′ 

Music to Heal

May 12, 2020 7:30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Music’s ability to lift us from despair or deep pain, or at least express our response to spiritual and physical wellness, are neither new nor new age, as 12th-century composer and healer Hildegard von Bingen well understood.

English violinist Hugo Ticciati, who will direct this program of meditative but emotionally charged music in his Australian debut, experienced these qualities and “the interconnectedness of everything” as he sought ways to alleviate physical pain so severe it would force him to stop playing.

Exploring such responses to life-changing upheavals, Latvian composer Peˉ teris Vasks’ neo-spiritual Lonely Angel was written as a meditation on Mother Earth and redemption. Beethoven’s String Quartet in A minor, a hymn of thanksgiving that begins as a slow prayer before becoming jubilant and ecstatic, emerged from Beethoven’s recovery from a serious illness.

An even greater blow to Beethoven, the realisation of inevitable early deafness, saw his utter despair and futility expressed in the unsent letter of farewell known as the Heiligenstadt Testament. Australian Brett Dean’s Testament draws inspiration from this writing, capturing the fluctuations of hesitancy and passion, and the search for clarity, for healing, in this “wretched despair”.

Hugo Ticciati - Guest Director & Violin
Australian Chamber Orchestra

TAVENER Mother of God, Here I Stand (arr. strings) 3′
PHILIP GLASS Company for string orchestra 8′
MAX RICHTER On the Nature of Daylight – Australian Premiere 6′
TERRY RILEY Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight – Australian Premiere 8′
PĒTERIS VASKS Lonely Angel: Meditation for violin and string orchestra 13′
BRETT DEAN Testament (arr. strings) 15′
HILDEGARD Vos flores rosarum (arr. strings) 5′
BEETHOVEN
String Quartet in A minor: III. Holy song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian mode. Molto adagio – Andante (arr. strings) 17′ 

The Four Seasons and Beyond

Jun 23, 2020 7:30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

2020 marks Richard Tognetti’s 30th year as the ACO’s Artistic Director. In celebration of his versatility and contribution to the Orchestra as arranger, composer, champion of new works and lost gems, and as a source of inspiration for new music, this program is a chance to look to the future as much as the past.
From the past is Tognetti’s acclaimed arrangement of Haas’s From The Monkey Mountains, a vivid tone poem composed in a Nazi ghetto that imagines a carefree life beyond the walls where the “rhythm of the open countryside and birdsong… the warm song of the human heart” resonate.

Looking to the future is the world premiere of a new work for electric violin by Samuel Adams, 33-year-old composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music and son of 20th century giant John Adams, written especially for Tognetti’s 30th anniversary with the Orchestra.

Tognetti’s progressive edge is highlighted in his own composition, Beyond, with vocals provided by the ACO’s Satu Vänskä, and in a new approach to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, long a favourite of the Orchestra and beloved of ACO audiences, now channelled through Scottish composer and electronica explorer Anna Meredith.

In its Australian premiere, Meredith’s ANNO intertwines Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with new compositions for electronics and string orchestra, moving through the seasons to create one continuous musical year that offers a fresh and invigorated experience of Vivaldi’s masterpiece. Featuring Richard Tognetti as soloist, Meredith herself will join the ACO to perform live electronics for these performances, a reminder of the adventure and imagination that has characterised this Orchestra and its artistic leader for 30 years.

Richard Tognetti - Director, Violin & Electric Violin
Satu Vänskä - Vocals, Anna Meredith- Electronics
Australian Chamber Orchestra

SAMUEL ADAMS New Work for Electric Violin and Strings – World Premiere* 12′
RICHARD TOGNETTI Beyond 4′
HAAS
String Quartet No.2 “From the Monkey Mountains” (arr. Tognetti) 32′
ANNA MEREDITH / VIVALDI ANNO: Four Seasons – Australian Premiere** 51′

Baroque Brilliance

Sep 1, 2020 7:30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

Is it possible that all roads lead from La Folia? Probably the oldest known musical theme of European culture, it has resonated through the centuries, from Corelli, Liszt and Beethoven, through to the artists of today.

In what marks the Australian debut of perennially in-demand director Jonathan Cohen, whose packed list of directorships includes The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Arcangelo and Les Violons du Roy, this virtuosic and evocative program may help answer this question as it moves from Vivaldi and Handel to the lesser known but harmonically gifted Francesca Caccini.

Naturally, the family Bach is also prominent. Principal Cello Timo-Veikko Valve is at the helm of CPE Bach’s impassioned Cello Concerto in A major, while the composer’s father, Johann Sebastian, features twice, including his final masterpiece The Art of Fugue, devised not for a patron but as the fruit of his late-in-life focus on pure composition. A world premiere from composer Paul Stanhope will present a modern take on the La Folia theme before Geminiani’s own famed La Folia variations, the Concerto Grosso in D minor.

Jonathan Cohen - Guest Director & Keyboard
Helena Rathbone - Violin
Timo-Veikko Valve - Cello
Australian Chamber Orchestra

LOCATELLI Concerto grosso in E-flat major “Il pianto d’Arianna” 15′
JS BACH The Art of Fugue: Contrapunctus 8 5′
HANDEL Concerto Grosso in A minor 10′
MOZART Fugue in E-flat major (after Bach’s BWV876) 2′
VIVALDI Concerto for Strings in G minor, RV156 6′
JS BACH Die Himmel erzählen die Ehre Gottes: Sinfonia 3′
CPE BACH Cello Concerto in A major 19′
FRANCESCA CACCINI Ciaccona 5′
PAUL STANHOPE Giving Ground – World Premiere* 5′
GEMINIANI Concerto Grosso in D minor “La Folia” 11′ 

Beethoven 250

Nov 10, 2020 7:30pm

Australian Chamber Orchestra

What might link Mozart and Vaughan Williams? Schubert and George Crumb? Signposting every 50 years from Beethoven’s birth with a significant composition of each era, this is an opportunity to grasp the sheer magnitude of Beethoven’s enduring influence and the development of music over the past 250 years.

Mozart met the young Beethoven in 1787 when he was sent to study in Vienna by wealthy benefactors in Bonn. However, by that time, Beethoven was already so immersed in Mozart’s music, he even worried that he may have unintentionally imitated him. For Schubert, who composed his Quartettsatz in C minor 50 years after Beethoven’s birth, the challenge was how to emerge from the vast shadow cast by Beethoven, in particular his imposing legacy on the string quartet.

If the lightness of the Pizzicato Polka, co-composed by the brothers Johann Strauss junior and Josef Strauss, works as a cheeky contrast, Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending, performed by Richard Tognetti, is a continuation of forms once championed by Beethoven: the pastoral form and romance for violin and orchestra.
Where Schubert worked within Beethoven’s string quartet model, George Crumb sought to break it apart 150 years later in Black Angels, written in 1970 as a response to the Vietnam War. Black Angels created a new musical chapter, as will Anna Clyne’s new commission for strings, which will also show the ongoing connections to Beethoven in the early 21st century.

But there may be no better evidence of Beethoven’s enduring influence than the final number, his Cavatina & Grosse Fuge, the last major work he composed shortly before his death. Its presence serves to emphasise how contemporary Beethoven remains, resounding with perpetual modernity.

Richard Tognetti - Director & Violin
Australian Chamber Orchestra

1770: MOZART Mitridate: Overture 6′
1820: SCHUBERT Quartettsatz (arr. strings) 10′
1870: JOHANN STRAUSS II Pizzicato Polka 3′
1920: VAUGHAN WILLIAMS The Lark Ascending 15′
1970: GEORGE CRUMB Black Angels (arr. Tognetti) 19′
2020: ANNA CLYNE New commission for strings – World Premiere* 15′
BEETHOVEN Cavatina & Grosse Fuge (arr. Tognetti) 24′