Forces of Nature: A French Encounter
21 May 2022, Elder Hall, University of Adelaide
History brought to life in evocative, emotive performances.
Forces of Nature combined stylish historically-informed performance with innovative programming.
On a stage adorned with native flora, the Adelaide Baroque Orchestra performed a program that explored the power of the natural world through music from 17th-18th century France and 21st century Australia.
Opening the concert was a suite from Marin Marais’ opera Alcyone. Adelaide Baroque’s attention to detail in phrasing, articulation and dynamics really brought to life the imagery in this charming set of pieces, which included movements depicting fauns, shepherds, sailors and a storm.
Jean-Fery Rebel’s Le Chaos is one of the most harmonically adventurous works to come out of the French Baroque Era. Adelaide Baroque again captured the imagery of the work, with vigorous, energetic playing and really satisfying intonation in the movement’s many dissonant moments.
The French Violin by Australian composer Padma Newsome was written in response to the firestorm on New Year’s Eve of 2019. This highly engaging work is in five movements. The second movement combined antiphonal string pizzicato with a lyrical solo violin melody, played with warmth and nuance by Ben Dollman, while the fourth movement featured a pathos-infused solo from cellist Thomas Marlin.
The second half of the concert was a pastiche of arias and dances drawn from Baroque operas. Soprano Kate MacFarlane, as always, gave a beautiful and emotive performance.
— Melanie Walters, The Advertiser