Orchestra Victoria is one of my favourite Melbourne Orchestras. Maybe I have a soft spot for them because my oboe teacher Stephen Robinson is a long time member, but its bigger than that since they are the hard working orchestra that accompanies the ballet and the opera in Melbourne. This year they will even be in the pit for the Houston ballet tour of Melbourne, and Opera Australia's Ring cycle.
To the four winds was presented at their rehearsal home down at the Albert Park lake, and by 4.45 there was standing room only for this free concert presented by the Orchestra Victoria Wind section, in various configurations from duo to quartet.
All the works were presented with a (usually humourous), short introduction by the players themselves. The playing was of course flawless, and in the pocket. The program choices were delightful. It started with Beethoven variations for two oboes and for angles on a theme by Mozart. The tune was of course recognisable and the playing smooth and rich in tone. A bassoon duet written by Brazilian composer Francisco Mignone was a great showcase for these bass winds.
Demonstrating the delights of seeing music performed live, the clarinet section gave a wonderful performance of Francis Poulenc Sonata for two clarinets. Paul and Justin weaved their bodies and soared together seamlessly, providing a complete performance both visually and aurally. Music you can see being made and expressed.
A quartet came together for Bozza, a stalwart of wind chamber composing. Australian composer Ross Edwards was also featured in a flute duet entitled Ecstatic Dances for two flutes - a title for which one can only imagine the flute playing.
The program concluded with Malcolm Arnolds Divertimento for flute oboe and clarinet. One of those finger flying pieces with contemplative interludes.
A fun afternoon of great playing. I'd love to encourage everyone to get behind this series, but I don't need to. Top tip - arrive early for the next one.