This was a thrilling concert in the beautiful , elegant Verbrugghen Hall at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
The Orchestra under maestro Eduardo Diazmunoz was magnificent. Diazmunoz’s conducting was precise, energetic, refined and mostly restrained, except in the case of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring during which he was jumping around,
After the introduction and welcoming speeches by the Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AM ,the opening work was the delightful world premiere of Anne Boyd AM”s Olive Pink’s Garden which requires an absolutely HUGE orchestra,
Boyd’s composition is inspired by the work of anthropologist Olive Muriel Pink, after which a beautiful park in Alice Springs was created,
The piece opened with a strong blare of brass and woodwind fanfare (opening the gates? Dawn?). .It ranged from fragile and delicate, with the xylophone and flute, to shimmering and pulsating – the garden on a hot summer day?) .
Jungle rhythms were included. In the lyrically volcanic section it felt as if it was absolutely BURSTING with life and swirled and darted , growing – depicting the luscious landscape – and then closing with another fanfare , returning to the full orchestra – (closing the gates? the end of the day? ).
The composer was in the audience, and was called up on stage to receive very warm applause.
Gordon Jacob’s Flute Concerto No.1 was given an outstanding recital and featured soloist Breanna Moore who was a striking figure with braided hair and wearing a long green and purple floral gown.
Moore’s playing, she is the winner of the 2016 Sydney Conservatorium of Music Concerto Competition, was poised, confident and dazzling. Jacob’s concerto is in four movements though unusually a few of the movements are played without a pause.
The piece began with fast, rippling strings and the flute soared like a bird in flight. Some of the work was lush, languid and luxurious with shades of Debussy’s L’Apres Midi D’Un Faune In other parts it was quite dark and operatic.
Most of the concerto featured a dialogue between the flute and orchestra with the flute emphatically leading the conversation. Moore’s playing was superb , enchanting in its crystalline clarity and ravishing in its expressiveness. In another section, toward the end, strident strings were contrasted with the aching darting flute.
jAfter interval we were treated to a bold, vivid ,somewhat overwhelming version of Stravinsky’s Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring) which famously caused a riot at its first performance , with Nijinsky’s choreography for the Ballets Russes in 1913.
The orchestra handled Stravinsky’s jagged, pulsating rhythms and fiendishly difficult counts marvellously. Conductor Diazmunoz was extremely energetic and emphatic.
The orchestra was driven and relentless with dark insistent strings and a pulsating wind section. There was a short tremulous flute section , emphatic percussion and several melodies were repeated in a circular fashion by the orchestra. It was driven by crashing waves of sound at times that lead to a wild, almost violent end that left one breathless.
There was a stunned silence during which both the while both audience and orchestra recovered. There was then screams of Bravo, thunderous applause and several curtain calls
Running time 2 hrs 20 minutes, including one interval.
The Chancellor’s Concert. part of the Greenway series, took place at Verbrugghen Hall of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Friday 31 March 2017.