HIGHLIGHT: ACO IN CONCERT
ACO On Demand
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Experience the magic of one of the world’s greatest chamber ensembles, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, wherever you are with ACO On Demand and the ACO On Demand app.
ACO On Demand features full-length live concerts, the Orchestra’s highly acclaimed premium music films, ACO StudioCasts, short performances for those on the go, a comprehensive selection from the Orchestra’s catalogue of recordings, and so much more. You’ll also get to know Artistic Director Richard Tognetti and the Orchestra, and their guest artists and collaborators, with exclusive behind-the-scenes extras.
Register for free to access a wealth of short videos and extras. Or rent or buy individual videos, including StudioCasts, full-length concert performances and live streams, starting at $9.99.
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Coming soon: brand new ACO StudioCasts film
ACO StudioCasts: The Four Seasons
The first ACO StudioCast to be filmed at our spectacular ACO Pier 2/3 home, The Four Seasons is a cinematic take on the ACO’s critically acclaimed cross-cultural collaboration with oud virtuoso Joseph Tawadros and riq master James Tawadros.
ACO StudioCasts is a season of seven highly acclaimed on demand films that showcase the musical breadth and daring virtuosity for which the ACO is renowned around the world. Beautifully shot, incredibly cinematic and with high quality audio, these unique and masterful music films will transform your expectations of what an on demand orchestral experience can be.
Rapture & Revolution
Beauty and emotional transcendence with Beethoven and Vaughan Williams.
Beauty can be revolutionary too, as this debut release in our inaugural season of concert films, ACO StudioCasts, will prove.
Filmed in the grand and expansive Centennial Hall at Sydney Town Hall, the film opens with Schubert's Quatettsatz, followed by Vaughan Williams’s The Lark Ascending. Universally loved, it has long been a calling card for Richard Tognetti and a place for rapture in a pure sense.
There is a similar emotional impact in Beethoven’s Cavatina, which may be one of the most moving pieces ever written. Indeed, so moved was Beethoven that it’s said he finished it with tears falling onto his manuscript.
Emotions transcend time and so does Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge which was perhaps too revolutionary for an early-19th-century audience. Now though, inspired by the intellectual drive within it, we celebrate the Grosse Fuge as another moment of beauty and rapture.
Bach and the Beyond
Finding hope and acceptance in a troubled world.
At a time when we are all grappling with finding trust in this new world and hope for the future, it is astonishing how relevant Bach remains. This evocative and impassioned concert film pitches Bach’s timeless search for redemption alongside compositions by Richard Tognetti, elevated by the mesmerising vocals of Satu Vänskä.
Bach’s Ricercar from The Musical Offering, with guest flautist Emmanuel Pahud, is a tumultuous six-part fugue tinged with personal anguish, while his Erbarme dich from the St Matthew Passion, yearns for comfort in a heart-rending cello solo by ACO Principal Timo-Veikko Valve.
There is a natural connection with excerpts from our 2012 film, The Reef, in particular Beyond, which was inspired by Tognetti seeing images of underwater swimmers seemingly caught in the “troubled peace” between life and death.
Lest the afterlife feel placid and safe, Deviance, Tognetti’s re-imagining of Paganini’s Caprice No.24, suggests the world beyond could be happily devilish too.
A brilliant convergence of grandeur and intimacy.
Schubert’s career was marked by admiration for Beethoven and his desire to match the heights achieved by his hero. In his “perfect” Quintet, probably the best long-form piece of chamber music ever written, he achieved that goal.
Composed in the final weeks of his far too short life, the writing is symphonic, alluding to far more harmonic colours than had ever been thought possible for an ensemble of this size. The use of two cellos was revolutionary and gave him scope for exploration of tone and texture.
Schubert was at his most touching and ephemeral in major keys, and this star-studded ACO ensemble, lead by Richard Tognetti, will take you on a soulful journey through sadness, fear, contemplation and joy, with a melodic richness reflecting Schubert’s status as one of the great writers of song.
It’s the intimate and the grand brilliantly merged.
Music from the heart by Ravel, Crawford Seeger and Walker.
Majestic and nation-defying music is no small feat for a composer, driven by mind and spirit, and compelled by forces as demanding as nationalism and honour. Creating one of the great modernist works of the 20th century, as Crawford Seeger did with her Andante for Strings is equally demanding.
But the heartfelt, the music coming from the core of woman or man, can ask something special too. Maybe at times even ask more, in the way George Walker’s Lyric for Strings blends lamentation and lushness direct from the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer’s emotional core.
It was a question of emotional core which played on the mind of Tchaikovsky when he wrote his Serenade for Strings, composed while he was writing the 1812 Overture. As significant as the 1812 was, for him and for Russia, Tchaikovsky acknowledged that for all its virtues, warmth was not so obvious.
The Serenade however, one of the most loved pieces for string orchestra, came from “inner conviction”. We hear Tchaikovsky reaching into his innermost feelings, his nostalgic adoration for Mozart, and the energy and influence of Russian folk music. Tchaikovsky’s former teacher, Anton Rubinstein, was not the only one to say that the Serenade was the best thing he had yet written. When composers ask something special of themselves and write from the heart, they in turn give something truly special back to the world.
Love & Transfiguration
How do light and joy come from what feels like our darkest moments? Maybe it is that love can transform, as this concert film does, from sombre hues and shadows to the warmth and radiance of new light and new day.
Vox amoris, written for Richard Tognetti in 2009, is an exquisitely beautiful and moving cinematic journey. Each time the force of feeling sweeps low, the violin’s song to the glory of love emerges from the gentle murmur of the strings.
Such balancing of melancholy and light underpins the moral complexity in Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, but the resolution finds love as a redeemer. Even Bach’s “Ich ruf zu dir”, performed by Richard Tognetti and ACO Principals Stefanie Farrands, Timo-Veikko Valve and Maxime Bibeau, is a cry of yearning to be freed from earthly suffering that takes on a joyous aspect.
This is a film that will lift you out of daily life and into the light.
Music prevails with Arvo Pärt and Shostakovich.
Directed by Matisse Ruby and filmed at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion, this spectacular concert film features Artistic Director Richard Tognetti leading the ACO through performances of Arvo Pärt's Tabula Rasa and Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony, integrated with imagery and video projections by renowned cinematographer Jon Frank and Beizj Studio.
Estonian Arvo Pärt is one of the most performed living composers, and his extraordinary music is revered by musicians and non-musicians alike around the world. Written while his Estonian homeland was under Soviet control, Tabula Rasa strives to break free and start afresh through spirituality and independence.
Shostakovich’s Chamber Symphony is a lament for victims of fascism and war, but also an act of self-reflection as it moves from elegy to brutal force into haunting acceptance.
“Tabula Rasa is such a beloved piece of music,” said Ruby, on making the film. “We wanted to create a multi-sensory film which encapsulated the piece’s meditative and trance-like moments – even in the turbulence, there is this notion of coming back to stillness and tranquillity – through integrating the music with otherworldly projections created by Beizj Studio and Jon Frank.”
Beethoven & Bridgetower
Two soulmates, a sonata immortalised, and a name lost to history.
It’s a passionate and sweepingly epic work, but there’s also drama off stage in what is arguably Beethoven’s most loved and performed violin sonata, performed here in an arrangement by Richard Tognetti for solo violin and string orchestra.
Known as 'The Kreutzer' for its dedication to the violinist Rudolphe Kreutzer (who likely never played this difficult, titanic work), what has been lost in history is its original dedication to George Bridgetower, a far more accomplished violinist of mixed European and West Indian descent, and something of a kindred spirit to Beethoven, who performed with the composer at the Sonata’s premiere.
Legend has it Beethoven was so late to finish the Sonata that the ink was still wet on the page when he and Bridgetower – the latter, not having seen the score before, sight-reading and even improvising a section – took to the stage for an early morning performance. It was a success, and a jubilant Beethoven signed the manuscript in dedication to the friend he exuberantly called “a great lunatic”.
However, in its success lay its downfall. While celebrating with a drink (or three) Beethoven and Bridgetower spectacularly fell out, and Bridgetower’s name was removed from the dedication, and from history.
But in this corner of the world he is not forgotten. In a dramatic collaboration with Belvoir St Theatre, soloist Richard Tognetti seeks to restore Bridgetower’s rightful place in history.
With these infamous origins, it is no wonder such an intensely romantic piece not only inspired a fevered Tolstoy short story – of jealousy and murder stemming from a performance of The Kreutzer – but stirred Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata as a response to Tolstoy’s story and views on women.
From such passion this program can’t help but positively pulsate with dramatic feeling.
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