QPAC, The Concert Hall
The newly-named Camerata (formerly the Camerata of St John’s) has a reputation for not only excellence but for challenging expectations in its music making. Consequently its annual program always represents a potpourri of musical treats which, this year, includes bringing Adelaide born and trained violinist Jane Peters home from Paris to play in an exclusive Australian performance as part of the gala season opener “Classique”.
As juxtaposition of two traditional classical-era pieces by Mozart and Mendelssohn with two 20th-century Russian works by Prokofiev and Stravinsky, “Classique” is a show of contrasts, which ensures that its 90 minute (no interval) running time floats by. Things begin with Prokofiev’s neoclassical ‘Symphony N. 1, op. 25’ (widely known as the Classical Symphony), a bright and breezy melodic journey that showcases playful violins and assertive violas in chase and waltz sounds. It both positions the show’s sparkle and provides a showcase of violinist and leader of the Camarata, Brendan Joyce’s excellence.
Mozart’s ‘Adagio for Violin and Orchestra in E major K.261’ then not only introduces the audience to Peters as soloist but provides a platform to showcase both her stunning violin sounds and the beautiful shapes created in her playing. As a lyrical piece of serene beauty, this serves as a perfect introduction to the guest artist, and very much a contrast to the pomp and circumstance of the novel orchestration and big brass ballet sounds of Stravinsky’s neo-classical ‘Pulcinella Suite’ which follows.
As is the tradition with Camerata, each concert includes a ‘wild card’ mystery guest performer segment, which, for this performance, is the youth choir the Voices of Birralee, a Brisbane based non-profit child and youth choral organisation who share two serene songs from their upcoming ANZAC centenary visit to France’s Villers-Bretonneux before Peters again appears on stage to provide a refined yet passionate conclusion to the program in Mendelssohn’s ‘Violin Concerto in E minor, op. 64’. Again her delivery of the refined work is exemplary, bringing the evening to a captivating conclusion.
“Classique” is a charming show of classical elegance and refined romanticism, as stylish as the star’s Lacroix dress. Given Camerata’s Midas touch, audiences can only look ahead to the remainder of their 2017 season with immense anticipation.