Overture to the Magic Flute (E flat Major)
In this very fine arrangement we were rewarded with Mozart at his mature, very best. The Opera could have been his last work and in this condensation into a short overture is sensational. As always Mozart’s sensitivity with the use of melody which he considered the essence of music was palpable throughout the performance as was the warmth, tenderness and deep emotion. Being a Viennese classicist firmly between Haydn and Beethoven the work showed Mozart’s fertile imagination and ample power where appropriate.
The Ensemble exhibited lightness and delicacy from the slow, mysterious introduction, through a variety of delightful melodies, all so direct and clear in that small hard space, was thoroughly enjoyable experience, a rare treat for the Sydney audience.
Piano Concerto No 5, ‘The Emperor’ (E flat Major)
Well named (for other reasons), this work is The Emperor of piano concerto for all time.
A breathtaking performance of power, melody and relentless energy, yet very soft and playful, teasing the mind and senses with repeated delicious skin sensations. Famous Conductors and Orchestras have given us a variety of good versions of this majestic work but never before was it arranged as it was for this performance in the Utzon Room.
In this room with it’s hard surfaces, softened acoustically only by the audience, the arrangement and the energetic performance by the musicians was simply stunning ! I am not about to duplicate some of the in depth volumes written by others, nor can I add much assessing the work, but with the use of a beautiful ‘in period piano’ all participating members the ensemble deserve much credit for the execution of this work with so much energy and sensitivity and unquestionable skill.
A slight negative in this small space – at times, the dominance of the piano, although well interwoven with the strings and flute seemed excessive. The impression was that the strings, and in particular the double bass has to work hard and did to maintain a balance. But that’s only a personal observation.
The other observation at the time was that as the Beethoven Concerto No 5 being so dominant during this presentation, in this place, the Utzon Room, exhausted and satisfied on its conclusion it seemed and felt as the finale to the event, and was time to go home. Many may not share this view, although some of the musicians did and think that the program sequence as listed would have been better and made Mozart’s ‘Prague’ more relevant and enjoyable.
Symphony No 38 ‘Prague’ in D Major
We all know Mozart was a gifted child and in adulthood a musical genius.
Symphony No 38 in part of Mozarts famous Trilogy of 1788 and was written at a time of his most productive period. It is long, gentle, yet provides us with a powerful expression of conscious happiness which at other times has eluded him. This work with its emphasis on expression may be due to Mozart’s break with music solely for entertainment and a break with convention to express more of his personality and mature creativity for its own sake, and stretching it to the limit.
Again, a very fine arrangement and excellent execution by the ensemble members with a fine balance of interplay throughout the performance.
An interesting work requiring more than usual concentration for full appreciation.
Recommendation; Revisiting this work again for sheer listening pleasure – without a competing Beethoven masterpiece.
Michael Bures ASTC RAIA