31 August 2014
“Camerata Academica of the Antipodes delight and astonish in their debut concert...The inaugural concert of the Camerata Academica of the Antipodes presented a delightful spread of bite-sized musical morsels, drawn from five centuries, to a full-house of enthusiastic concert-goers and scholars...”
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British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS
The group [Camerata Academica of the Antipodes] made a very good impression, especially through bridging the gap between academia and the real world of non-specialist audience members. Contributing to that bridging was a selection of short items, for it is widely noticed that attention spans are diminishing these days. The items, mostly from the Baroque period, were performed, where appropriate, at suitably brisk tempos. The informal atmosphere was welcome, including encouragement to applaud at any time. The academic approach, which the Camerata had clearly taken in their study of early music performance, would not have intruded consciously upon most of the audience members, yet it was an important part of the background, as the program notes indicated.
Before the concert proper began, the group's support of musical education was reflected with a group of beginning children playing their violins in unison. I estimated the typical ratio of player height to instrument length to be between two and three.
The program ventured beyond early music several times, thus satisfying a variety of tastes in a general audience. After Franz Schubert, in his moving "Staendchen" from Schwanengesang, followed Arthur Sullivan who, after all, had studied Schubert's compositions closely. All the performances were well received, and deservedly so, a highlight being provided by the guest artist soprano Georgia Kokkoris in an item from The Pirates of Penzance.
The hall was very resonant, so it was not easy for the performers to explore the softer end of the full range of dynamics. On the other hand, a stentor or a microphone would have assisted the announcing. But I have no doubt that these academics, wearing their learning lightly, will continue to make a great and wide impression.