Saturday 18 September 2010

Launch of Arensky Chamber Orchestra, 16 September 2010

This is not a review as such, but I should like to note the launch at the Pall Mall Institute of Directors of a new professional chamber orchestra. With guest director, Andrew Haveron, The Arensky Chamber Orchestra, with performed Vivaldi's Four Seasons, interspersed with Artur Piazzola's responses: Four Seasons of Buenos Aires. Haveron brought charismatic leadership to a crack team of young soloists. Indeed, performances were throughout excellent, bringing to life a work that I should never have imagined wishing to hear again. What a relief to find musicians prepared to treat Vivaldi as music rather than a pseudo-archaeological freak-show, as has become all too common today. Piazzola provided something 'new' yet appropriate, nocturnal slinkiness relished by players and audience alike.

Part of the ensemble's mission is to 'strive to be creative in all that we do - not just with our playing - and are committed to finding new and exciting ways to deliver our music, through venue choice, programming, and challenging collaborations with other forms.' Certainly the venue, designed and built by John Nash, provided interest of its own, attested to welcome ambition from the orchestra's founder, Will Kunhardt. One of the Institute's two St James rooms, transformed during performance through lighting, boasted a surprisingly fine acoustic too: take note, other performers...

The four concerts planned for the orchestra's 2011 debut Cadogan Hall season will each benefit from a celebrated guest director: Haveron for the first, Clio Gould, Stephanie Gonley, and Melvyn Tan. A multi-media treatment of Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht sounds intriguing, likewise a 'late-night mystery concert', including Mozart's Requiem. For further details from the orchestra's website, click here.