Violinist Shaun Lee-Chen conducts Baroque Favorites by WA Symphony Orchestra at the Perth Concert Hall
The silky tones and artistic energy of violin maestro Shaun Lee-Chen resulted in a scintillating recital of Baroque Favorites from the WA Symphony Orchestra at the Perth Concert Hall on Saturday.
Directing and directing the sleek ensemble, Lee-Chen has proven that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery as the string ensemble with increases in winds, brass and percussion followed its lead from the opening of Corelli’s Concerto Grosso to Bach’s Orchestral Suite No. 3 in the Close.
A hint of hesitation at the start was quickly dispelled by Lee-Chen’s solo; the depth of the cello and bass aptly complementing the sharper melodic lines of Corelli’s first movement, Adagio-Allegro.
Majestic phrases in all registers followed in the Adagio, contrasting with the pulsating energy in the Vivace; complemented by a touch of whimsy as Lee-Chen set the mood in Allegro’s finale, duet with Zak Rowntree before a heartily resonant conclusion.
Two pieces from Albinoni brought together the five-part string and harpsichord-organ combination of Stewart Smith, Lee-Chen duet with Riley Skevington in the Sonata in C major, Largo movement; a courteous style in a more sparse frame allowing the harpsichord to decide.
The organ anchored Allegro’s second stanza, with strings in counterpoint, while John Keene’s harpsichord and pizzicato bass in the following bass supported another violin duet up to the organ chord of fencing.
In the Allegro finale, the counterpoint was played in constant motion until the last chord cadence.
Between the oboe, Liz Chee bringing a distinct voice to the group for the Concerto in D minor, following then leading as in a dance; light and lucid but always present, the strings casting a shadow without ever interfering in the Allegro e non presto.
The familiar arpeggios of the Adagio created a wave of expectation that Chee rode with understated elegance, notes of grace and trills adorning an unhurried melody; the set cleverly closing before bursting into Allegro’s finale, Chee dancing with agility and poise as Lee-Chen was vigorous and fiery, her unassuming artistry earning her screams and cheers.
Telemann’s Concerto for 3 Trumpets closed the half, the brilliance of two piccolo trumpets (Brent Grapes and Jenna Smith) and a trumpet in D (Peter Miller) on timpani accents by François Combemorel adding an extra dimension to the its acute baroque.
Largo-Allegro drew silver flourishes in solo, duo and trio trumpets, fueling a rousing climax.
Strings, harp and woodwinds led a nervous dance in the Adagio while trumpets hung five before erupting in the Presto, their fanfare style echoing through the strings and woodwinds; bursts of sound fading into a decreasing cadence.
After the break, Vivaldi’s Violin Concerto in A minor featured Lee-Chen, opening in cadence mode before a sudden explosion of teeming life; soloist riding a wave of rhythmic energy, controlling tempos and dynamics with soulful art.
Mystery in the Largo established by a minimalist chord accompaniment gave free rein to Lee-Chen’s mercurial technique, meditating through the register.
The ensemble erupted again in Presto’s finale, Lee-Chen skillfully directing with an occasional touch of patent leather percussion, leading to a final flourish.
To freshen up the mood, Andrew Nicholson took a relaxed approach to the Flute Concerto in G minor by the same composer “La Notte” (Night); holding fire during the tutti passages then starting the dialogue with long sentences on complex chords.
Largo’s movements alternate with Presto and finally Allegro through this programmatic piece; a dense accompaniment contrasting with a limpid and lucid flute playing, both meditative and virtuoso, leading Nicholson to the extremes of technique and expression.
Finally, only Bach was able to complete this travel diary from the Baroque period, his Orchestral Suite n ° 3 combining all the elements. The strident opening bars with trumpet, woodwind and timpani accents were among the most richly marked moments of the evening as Lee-Chen jumped in and out of the direction and through the tumultuous tempi of the evening. ‘Opening.
The air (on a G string) followed, Lee-Chen investing the alluring earworm with a delicate resonance that was both familiar and fresh; Smith’s organ plays a velvety counterpart and the whole delights deeply into the cadence.
WASO then rocked the night with moves from Gavotte, Bouree and Gigue played attacca in a celebration of the dance rushing to an exuberant climax.