2023 Newsfeed

Candlelight Concert: a fairytale of music and candles

Candlelight concert stage, photo by Jaheedah Arendse
Candles on stage

The Canberran spectacular of the gentle glow of the Candlelight: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons concert took place on 17 March at James Fairfax Theatre, National Gallery of Australia.

The worldwide event takes place in over 100+ cities and has over 3+ million attendees; its most recent landing in Australia’s capital city. 

These concerts are unique yet breathtaking. An intimate and multi-sensory musical experience of the best composers in a flickering candlelight setting.

The concert aimed to produce a one-of-a-kind adventure for the audience through the beauty of the ambient lighting of over 100 candles.

The String Ensemble – Phoenix Collective Quartet performed the concert, an iconic group of musicians who play classical music in high-profile venues. 

The musicians divided the show into four programmes, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter; all re-performed from the original musical expressions of the infamous composer, Antonio Vivaldi.

The show began with the musicians highlighting who Vivaldi was and the significance of the violin concertos through the use of basic human elements.

As the show progressed, each season supported the imagery-fulfilled poems – explored in this article. 

The poems were a source in which the music showcases imagery and
sensory through the notes played, from the birds who sang, to the gentle breeze in the Summer air.

The music resonated a lot in the childhood of many individuals; Vivaldi’s infamous music played in various animated films, such as Fantasia (released in 1940).

Phoenix Collective - Performing at the Candlelight Concert, Vivaldi's Four Seasons
Phoenix Collectives on stage performing

Programs: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons

The Four Seasons that were performed was an expression of time and the human experiences of varied activities.

The Phoenix Collectives read the supported poems, showcasing the different activeness of the natural and artificial environment.

Youtube: Evan Bennet, by the Budapest Strings

The programme described various elements of nature’s ability to be reborn. With the blossoming of flowers and the activeness of the birds who chirped bringing significance to the performance.

The Spring segment of the concert was an instant case of, ‘I remember this’; I felt refreshed to see the different tones of each violin, which created the sounds of the images we picture in our minds.

It showcased the brilliance of the orchestrated and lively melodies.

The musicians interacted with the audience, and they had fun with the poems he read.


Summer was an inspiring segment.

Showcasing a lot of drama in tones of the constant use of portraying storms and winds and the fierce company of many insects that we encounter in the season.

The ‘burning of the sun’ is imagery in many a mind.

The musician, Dan Russel, explained his encounter within the season, where he remembers being on the beach, his feet burning. It allowed the audience to resonate with the season’s intensity for most.


The Season of Autumn was a programme that contained both the sound of morbidity, and hope.

The poem revealed the battle between hunters and a beast in the woods, where empathy and compassion gushed through the audience onto the stage for the beast.

It was a significant change in tone at the death of the beast which showcased the musicians’ talent by portraying this lively story.

I felt as if I wanted to cry; it reminded me of Bambi. I reminisced about my younger self when watching the movie, especially the emotions I felt at the time.


The last segment of the night represented the lyrical vision of winter, with rainy storms and the battle of winds carried.

It felt as if you could feel the chills within the music, the coldness of the season and the importance of it.

No liveliness, no birds, and no singing, but it brung joy with fun activities on the ice.

Crowd’s point of view

The audience felt the concert was beautiful; one described it as ‘serene’.

He expressed that he felt as if the performance brought himself and others to tears due to the calm and beauty of the music.

A few individuals highlighted the atmosphere as ‘magical’ and expressed their image of a ‘fairy tale’ as they witnessed the experience.

Standing ovations filled the seats when the performance ended, with emotional go-aways and smiles throughout the theatre.

It was spectacular.

At the time, Dan Russel, the violinist in the Phoenix Collectives, described his intentions in the performance by focusing on just having fun, as he had discussed his stressful encounter before the concert after the arrival of one of the members.

National Gallery of Australia Sign, photo taken by Anastasia Krisenthal
(Photo by Anastasia Krisenthal)

The show is a must!

I did not want it to end.

It is a very intimate and beautiful experience that helped the audience to resonate with the stories expressed during the concert.

It is a fantastic multi-sensory experience with comfortable seating areas. It would be best to go with someone as it was remarkable to share the experience.

Please go with an open mind and enjoy/imagine the warmth, comfort and allure of candles and music combined.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.