Forty years ago I predicted an imminent Mendelsshon revival; I’m still waiting. This month brought a false dawn; at the Opera House the Ballet was presenting The Dream to Mendelsshon’s music and the Australian Chamber Orchestra presented Mostly Mendelsshon which was, as it implied, dominated by his String Symphony No.9 and his Violin Concerto in E minor. But that doesn’t constitute a revival.
My serious music friends tell me Mendelsshon just isn’t, well, serious enough. He’s too entertaining, too charming, too exciting. But it’s not as though such qualities are all that commonplace or easy to achieve. The ACO concert had all three in spades. The Orchestra was joined by soloist Stefan Jackiw who played not only brilliantly but beautifully. The Orchestra were in cracking form led by Satu Vanska in the absence of Richard Tognetti who was off being guest soloist with the Academy of Ancient Music on tour in the US.
It seems I must be grateful it’s been a good Mendelsshon month. Be grateful also to Mendelsshon who rescued JS Bach’s music from obscurity in the 1830s. That was the greatest gift imaginable. He started with the St. Matthew Passion, from there preparing manuscripts and arranging performances that brought about the reappraisal of Bach.
Speaking of the Academy of Ancient Music, its current director Richard Egarr will be Guest Director of the ACO’s next program of beautiful Baroque in June from Perth to Wollongong.
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