The music was sublime and the experience unique in Tafelmusik’s one off performance of The Galileo Project for this year’s Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF). Tafelmusik is a Baroque Orchestra hailing from Canada, their approach to performance is refreshing and stimulating, with a stage presence more akin to rock music than an orchestra. Performers walk around the stage, interact, challenge and flirt with each other, but more they leave the stage and play in the aisles and from the balconies. At one point it was like musical chairs, when the music stopped the person at the front of the stage played the lead in the next piece. Throughout the performance images are shown on a large round screen at the back of the stage.
The Galileo Project is Tafelmusik’s contribution to the International Year of Astromony, and combines music that celebrates the planets and those who studied them, including of course Galileo. Shaun Smyth narrates the event as the musicians take the audience on a journey to the planets. Music by Vivaldi, Lully, Monteverdi, Merula, Galilei, Marini, Rameau, Telemann, Weiss and Bach is played on original instruments. The playing is superb and the timing impeccable, especially considering there is no conductor; individual musicians take the lead as they walk about the stage. They are clearly enjoying it almost as much as the audience.
This was a one night only show at the Concert Hall, a venue that must have the best acoustics of any venue I have visited. Tafelmusik go on to Melbourne, performing on the 3rd March, look out Victorian’s you are in for a real treat.