Adelaide Town Hall, Mon Mar 2
Toronto’s Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra are internationally respected as one of the finest proponents of baroque music anywhere in the world. The musicianship of Tafelmusik is exquisite without question, and all essential musical devices such as intonation, articulation, tone, dynamics, texture and technique are masterfully handled.
The captivating aspect of House Of Dreams however is the stage and performance element, which goes well beyond the expectation of a recital typical of the genre in regards to entertainment and connection to the music, performers and audience. This is a theatre experience utterly unique and fresh in its approach. Installations and projections of images are tied together by narrator Blair Williams, who tells the fascinating story of five significant houses, incorporating artworks and artefacts and offering insights into their historical perspective.
For House Of Dreams the often stiff and stuffy formal seating is disregarded, replaced instead with a setting that gives the musicians a mobility and freedom to compliment the fluid movements of undulating musical passages. With the exception of the harpsichord player there is no sheet music in sight. Free from the shackles of their music stands Tafelmusik are able to bob, weave and interact with each other and the audience. From the cheeky eye movements and body swaying it is evident each member enjoys the freedom from the restriction of their normally tethered position. Committing the music to memory would have been an extraordinary feat, with approximately five months of initial rehearsal, followed by continual refreshment of repertoire required to maintain its memory.
The Fifth House: Leipzig presents J.S. Bach’s Largo for two oboes, bassoon and continuo, after the aria Im Tod ist alles stille (In death, all is silent) from Cantata BWV135 (c1724), a feature for the exceptional woodwind section, was a personal favourite and sent shivers throughout my body. Special mention must be made of Chief Artistic Advisor and violinist Jeanne Lemon and Project Creator bassist Alison Mackay.
Like the musicians themselves, this event was outstanding!
Star Rating: 5
Image courtesy of Glenn Davidson