Affectionately yours, Egarr keeps academy’s ancient history alive

Musica Viva Australia Blog

Reviewed by Graham Strahle 

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Academy of Ancient Music & Sara Macliver, Adelaide Town Hall, November 6

THE Academy of Ancient Music won affection the world over in the 1970s as one of the first period instrument orchestras. Under founding director Christopher Hogwood, it had the field largely to itself in those days, but today there are many other such orchestras all working at the top level.

How AAM presently rates under Richard Egarr, who succeeded Hogwood in 2006, is clear the moment this band puts bow to gut string in its current, English-themed Musica Viva concert tour.

The playing has an intriguing relaxed but energised grace that contrasts with the hyper excitability of some period instrument bands. Matthew Locke’s pint-sized instrumental pieces for Thomas Shadwell’s version of The Tempest were gorgeously smooth – to the point where one could hardly distinguish individual instruments – but rhythmically scintillating. Egarr is a…

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