We’ve become accustomed to the idea that Beethoven is made to be delivered at scale: 100-piece orchestras in cavernous venues. All the bells and whistles. The giant musical rollercoaster.

Skye McIntosh begs to differ.

Preparing to present Beethoven’s Seventh with the Australian Haydn Ensemble (AHE), McIntosh says that, when it comes to symphonies, the micro can be every bit as impressive and immersing as the macro – and sometimes even more so.

Big can be beautiful but size isn’t everything in classical music.

“A big part of AHE’s overarching identity and philosophy – if that’s a thing! – is that audiences get so much more out of the music of the 18th century when we embody not just the performance practices of the time and the use of historical instruments – but the day-to-day musical practices of the typical musician as well,” McIntosh tells Limelight.

AHE’s Skye McIntosh and Matthew Greco. Photo © Oliver Miller

Prior to a performance, McIntosh and her AHE colleagues dig deep into research and manuscripts, seeking to get as close as possible to an understanding of how orchestral music by the likes of Beethoven, Haydn, Boccherini...