Momentum Ensemble eased into their last concert of the season with the placid first movement of Three Places in New England, by Charles Ives. By the second movement all serenity was lost as the musicians dove into the hearty middle of the piece, descending into orchestral chaos and creating an exhilarating spectacle for the audience.
After starting the concert with such gusto, the second piece – a beautiful, meditative work by Cyrus Meurant – lulled the audience into a trance. This was the first of two world premieres of works by Australian composers, and was closely followed by the second premiere. The piece by Melody Eötvös was, in stark contrast to the peaceful Meurant piece, an abrupt yet intensely intriguing video and orchestra amalgamation, telling the indigenous Australian tale of Tiddalik the frog.
The combination of live performance alongside the electronic element of the Eötvös piece also required very precise timing from the musicians and their conductor Ariel Zuckermann, who expertly guided the performers. Zuckermann is the Music Director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra, and has been a part of the Momentum project since its conception in 2015. His continuing passion for working alongside aspiring musicians was evident upon his return for this program, and could be measured by the cheerful, engaged expressions on the performers’ faces.
The concert drew to a close with a rousing rendition of Haydn’s ‘La Reine’ symphony, which received tumultuous applause from audiences at both concerts in Canberra and Melbourne. In Canberra, the musicians graced the foyer of the High Court of Australia, where their elegant tones rang freely around the bright and airy space. Almost the polar opposite could be said for the second concert venue, which was hidden at the end of one of Melbourne’s iconic laneways in a warehouse-style room filled with candles and outdoor heaters, creating a much more intimate and relaxed atmosphere.
As their season reaches its end we can only look forward to seeing what Momentum Ensemble will bring us next year; something spectacular we bet. Stay tuned!