Tasmanian Times

Arts

Christmas concerts bring together favourite carols, baroque musical treasures and special new band member

Van Diemen Band’s inaugural Christmas concerts promise a special mix of music, performers and instruments for the festive season, in four magical concerts around Tasmania, including the first concert to be performed in the refurbished Tin Shed on the East Coast’s Spring Bay Mill at Triabunna.

Australia’s most exciting new early music group – now eliciting praise and interest in Europe – will perform with the Tasmanian Youth Chorale, soprano Helen Thompson, guest host Christopher Lawrence from ABC Classic FM and a special instrument newly-arrived from Germany in a program that combines favourite carols from the past with stunning musical portraits of the Christmas story by Baroque masters such as Vivaldi, Corelli and Stradella.

‘Baroque music reminds us that Christmas was a midwinter feast for reflection, mystery and wonder for centuries,’ says VDB founder and Artistic Director, Julia Fredersdorff. ‘It describes hope in darkness, the magical setting for a miracle, brittle cold, the stillness of night. Quite a climatic journey for Tassie audiences – but these concerts will take you there, courtesy of our rich gut-string sound mixed with the fresh, pure sound of children’s voices. It’s the perfect plum pudding; fruity, warm, well-marinated … and definitely no cheese!’

The program ranges over more than five hundred years of carols, from Gruber’s Stille nacht (Silent Night) of 1818 back to the Middle Ages hymn Gaudete (Rejoice!) that became an unlikely Top 20 pop hit in 1972 for the folk rock group Steeleye Span.

In between, Vivaldi sends the outside temperature plummeting in his Winter concerto from the famous Four Seasons cycle, and the fabulously-named Arcangelo Corelli casts a spell over the shepherds watching their flocks in one of the Baroque’s supreme and serene masterworks, his Christmas Concerto.

A Van Diemen’s Band Christmas also features the group’s new arrival: a chamber organ from the esteemed German family company Kirschner, sourced from a church in the city of Duisburg.

‘It’s still coming here on a plane from Europe as I speak,’ says Fredersdorff. ‘Baroque music requires a chamber organ at least half the time, and there isn’t one in Tasmania. We’ve hit the jackpot with this one, though; the Kirschner will unquestionably be the finest instrument of its type in the country, an absolute coup for the state. It’ll star in the recordings we’re making next year for the premier Swedish recording label BIS as VDB takes Tasmania’s musical reputation to the rest of the world. You hear, but don’t see the pipes; they’re crammed into a large hand-carved wooden box. Come and see it – it’s so cute!’

See below for full concert details and booking information.

A VAN DIEMEN’S BAND CHRISTMAS

Van Diemen’s Band with guests Helen Thompson (soprano), Christopher Lawrence (host) and the Tasmanian Youth Chorale

WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, Launceston, 6pm

THURSDAY 20 DECEMBER Hobart Town Hall, 6pm

FRIDAY 21 DECEMBER Cygnet Town Hall, 6pm

SATURDAY 22 DECEMBER Spring Bay Mill, Triabunna 3pm

Tickets at vandiemensband.com.au and at the door

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