Brahms 4 & Isserlis - Australian Chamber Orchestra

Brahms 4 & Isserlis

19 - 29 October 2013


DVOŘÁK Cello Concerto
BRAHMS Symphony No.4


Richard Tognetti Director and Violin
Steven Isserlis Cello

The Fourth is Brahms' final and greatest symphony. Here, Brahms takes flight, as he melds the soaring sounds of Romanticism to classical structure in a constantly evolving drama.

Brahms premiered the symphony with a small orchestra of 48 musicians, which he declined to augment. We follow his lead and perform with wind instruments from Brahms' time.
Steven Isserlis is one of our favourite collaborators – the epitome of the intelligent and passionate cellist.   There could be no better soloist for Dvorák's ardent and much-loved concerto. Isserlis first played it as a child. "I used to think it was so joyous," he says. "As I've got older, the more tragic it seems."

The Melbourne performances of Brahms 4 & Isserlis are a co-presentation with Melbourne Festival.


The Melbourne performance on Sun 20 Oct features a free post-concert talk with Richard Tognetti and Steven Isserlis in conversation with Sir Nicholas Kenyon, Managing Director of the Barbican Centre in London.

The Australian

“Steven Isserlis’ technical mastery was matched by an obvious love for the (Dvorak Cello Concerto)… The ACO’s rendition (of Brahms’ Symphony No.4) was intelligent and courageous.” 

The West Australian

"Whether in lulling, lilting, soothing phrases in its opening moments or generating red-blooded, electrifying climaxes that conjured up images of Brahms on steroids, this was music-making at its best."

The Advertiser, Adelaide

"The rapport between him [Isserlis] and Tognetti ensured that Dvorak's memorable themes and gypsy abandon were faithfully realised. His demeanour is flamboyant in the extreme, endearing him to many in the audience and adding to, even an essential element in, the hyper-excitement of his performances."

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Sydney Morning Herald

"The resulting sound was a revelation: superbly blended horns and trumpets without the bright blare of a modern symphonic sound, an agile, liquid tone from flutes and clarinets and a gorgeous warmth in the lower wind and brass, all matched with a string sound with a bold but never harsh attack."

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Audience Feedback

“Steven Isserlis endeared himself to the audience with his sense of humour. ACO brilliant as usual and Steven Isserlis absolutely fantastic! Thank you all for a wonderful concert.”  - M. Markovic

"What a fantastic performance yesterday. Such colors, dynamics & virtuosity in ensemble. [I've] never heard this before. ACO is truly the best chamber orchestra in the world. Especially the Dvorak cello concerto was mesmerizing. See you next year in Amsterdam!" - F. Steijns

“The ACO absolutely on form yet again tonight. Sublimely expressive, perfectly together. Their playing simply sparkled.”  - E. Cliff

“Wonderful concert yesterday afternoon. The encore (Steven Isserlis’ own arrangement of Song of the Birds by Pablo Casals)  - D. McNally

“ACO was on fire tonight! Nearly  took the roof of Llewellyn Hall. Fantastic!!” - R. White

“Thank you Richard Tognetti and Steven Isserlis for reigniting my love for Dvořák and Brahms tonight. Beautiful performances.” - Emily


Selected Audio