Revolutionary Romance by ARCO Chamber Soloists
2017-09-18

What could be better than a classical concert on a spring Sunday afternoon? I was delighted to attend the Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra’s Revolutionary Romance concert at Sydney Recital Hall on Sunday 17th of September.

Under the Artistic Direction of renowned musician and educator Richard Gill AO, the ARCO Chamber Soloists brought together eight incredibly talented musicians to play three iconic compositions created by Louis Spohr and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart during the Age of Revolution in the early 19th century: Allegro Moderato, Clarinet Quintet and Sinfonia Concertante.

I was very impressed by the performances of all the musicians, especially Nicole Van Bruggen, the clarinetist and co-founder of ARCO, and violinist Rachael Beesley, also co-founder and concertmaster of ARCO. Watching them play gave me goosebumps! We could feel a sense of oneness between them and their instruments, as if the basset clarinet and the violin were natural extensions of their bodies.

“The basset clarinet is one of my favourite clarinets, partly because it could easily have passed into history and had been forgotten, despite being wonderfully expressive and beautiful instrument” Nicole Van Bruggen said. Originally created by Mozart, Anton Stadler and Theodor Lotz, the basset clarinet has a larger range than the usual clarinet with the addition of four “basset” or low notes. It creates beautiful tonal colours!

 Nicole van Bruggen (photo credit: Nick Gilbert)

Nicole van Bruggen (photo credit: Nick Gilbert)

We are lucky enough to enjoy the melodious sound of the basset clarinet, considering that the instrument narrowly survived after it went missing during one of Stadler’s travel. After decades of research and experimentation a few clarinet builders could re-create basset clarinets close to the original.

I would definitely recommend that classical music lovers keep an eye on the orchestra’s tour dates!