New Perspectives: Beethoven Septet & Louise Farrenc Nonet

Australian-Romantic-&-Classical-Orchestra-photo-by-Peter-HislopThere is something very special about being in the room when it happens and highly skilled musicians are creating before your very eyes. This was the feeling that washed over as the nine musicians of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra launched into the opening bars of Louise Farrenc’s Nonet in E flat major, op.38.

This was particularly the case for this concert because several of the musicians participating are now based overseas and had returned especially for this national tour. These include hornist Anneke Scott who is now based in London and German oboist Tatjana Zimre, and American violinist Jenny Sherry who are both currently based in Amsterdam.

Joining them are two Australian internationals, flautist, Georgia Browne, originally from Perth but now based in France, and former Canberran, bassoonist, Lisa Goldberg, who is now based in Belgium and who less than a month ago was performing with the Paris Opera Orchestra.

Of the locally based musicians another former Canberran, violist Stephen King is based in Adelaide, cellist Daniel Yeadon is from Sydney, double bassist Rob Nairn is from Adelaide and clarinettist and Co-Artistic Director of the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra, Nicole Van Bruggen is based in Brisbane.

From the glances of approval and encouragement circulating among the ensemble as they performed each piece, it was easy to pick up on the pleasure each appeared to be relishing in this combination of peers, all specialists in early music, as they seized the possibilities to explore and create previously unsuspected nuances.

The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra specialise in historically informed performances so all the instrumentalists perform on instruments either original or exact replicas of those from the period in which the music was written.

Canberra audiences had the additional pleasure of being able to experience this program in the cosy ambience of the historic Albert Hall with the audience seated in a semi-circle around the orchestra. This arrangement provided a particularly intimate musical experience, allowing the special qualities of each of the period instruments to be savoured and appreciated.

The program commenced with Louise Farrenc’s rarely heard Nonet in E flat major, op.38. To most of the audience this delightfully sunny work was a revelation. Given the quality of the musicians, it seems superfluous to mention that the work was superbly played, with fastidious attention to detail, and each of the nine instruments given opportunity to shine.

Similarly with the Beethoven Septet in E flat Major, Op 20 which followed after a short interval. This work for seven instruments, and composed in six individual sections, demanded and received virtuoso playing from the whole ensemble, but especially from violinist, Jenna Sherry, who rose to the occasion with a dazzling performance that earned her, and the ensemble, sustained applause from the appreciative audience.

New Perspectives: Beethoven Septet & Louise Farrenc Nonet
Albert Hall, 100 Commonwealth Ave, Yarralumla (Canberra)
Performance: Tuesday 6 June 2023

The New Perspectives program will also be presented at the David Li Sound Gallery – Monash University, Clayton on Saturday 10 June 2023. For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra – photo by Peter Hislop

Review: Bill Stephens OAM