Australian Chamber Orchestra and Freddy Kempf

Sunday 27 November, 3pm

Birmingham Symphony Hall

Mozart Symphony No 29 28’
Shostakovich Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings 22’
Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings 28’
Mozart Symphony No 40 35’

Australian Chamber Orchestra
Richard Tognetti director, violin
Freddy Kempf piano
Tine Thing Helseth trumpet


The Australian Chamber Orchestra has been described by the Washington Post as having ‘the energy and vibe of a rock band with the ability of a crack classical chamber group.’ This afternoon they’ll shine a fresh light on much-loved music by Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

The Aussies are matched in youthful flair by the dream team for Shostakovich’s witty Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings: pianist Freddy Kempf and brilliant trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth.

‘Listening to the ACO is like taking a swig of a vitamin drink. Suddenly: pow! The music certainly feels stronger, muscled, hot from the gym… If that’s what Australia does for you, I’m also emigrating.’ The Times

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, recommends today’s concert: “If this is the first time you’ve encountered the ACO, the first thing you’ll notice is that, unlike other orchestras, their musicians stand when they perform which brings a real energy to their playing. The second thing is that music-making of this quality is an absolute joy to behold.”

Review by Ivan Hewett, Telegraph:

…     “The Mozart alone merited the ticket price, but here also were Shostakovich’s early Concerto for Piano, Trumpet and Strings, Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, and Mozart’s G minor Symphony. Freddy Kempf, the solo pianist in Shostakovich’s concerto, was burningly intense and focused, where sometimes a certain ironic distance would have helped in the outer movements. Trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth had a far less taxing role, but she executed it with relish.

Then, in Tchaikovsky’s Serenade, the orchestra proved it can do romantic pathos just as well as 18th-century wit.”     …

Article on Richard Tognetti, by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

…      “Russian music separated the symphonies. Larger string groups might produce more sumptuous weight of tone in Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings, but not the finely painted inner detail the ACO managed, nor the exquisitely spun melodic thread through its slow movement, while in Shostakovich’s Concerto for piano and trumpet, with Freddy Kempf and Tine Thing Helseth as the soloists, they responded with playing of whiplash precision. Though it’s a concerto in which the trumpet is very much the junior partner, Helseth took every opportunity to show what a fine instrumentalist she is, even if there was something a bit bombastic about Kempf’s contribution; this is, after all, a work in which a touch of sardonic brittleness is entirely appropriate.”


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