A very exciting concert the latest in the Willoughby Symphony season is ETERNITY , led by guest conductor Michelle Leonard OAM .
The first half of the program was Dvorak’s Cello Concerto in B Minor Op 104 with a stellar performance by Bennett Tsai . Leonard conducted dynamically and with great panache and there was finely nuanced balance and excellent rapport between her the Orchestra and Tsai . Tsai gives an amazing , intense, virtuoso performance haunted and at times either fiery or lyrical, passionate and anguished . From the stirring Orchestral opening with its dynamic rhythms we are captivated.
The first richly atmospheric movement is for Orchestra alone with a splendid horn solo. In the second movement after dialogue between Orchestra and Tsai , Tsai shines in the wistful solos and eventually the aching ,flowing melodies gently ebb towards the conclusion . The third movement opened with an insistent marching rhythm , there were lyrical sections contrasted with whirling sections . At one point Tsai is frantic on his cello but this changes to soft and lyrical as if he is searching for something which leads to the crashing tumultuous finale. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA :- ETERNITY @ THE CONCOURSE→
The latest in this year’s series of concerts by Willoughby Symphony Orchestra , entitled DISCOVERY opened on a sombre note with Dr Nicholas Milton making the sad announcement of the passing of legendary inspirational conductor and educator Richard Gill.
Tributes and very moving short speeches were made .
Dr Milton conducted energetically and precisely and the Orchestra was in magnificent, glowing form.
The concert opened with Composer in Residence Nigel Westlake’sCudmirrah Fanfare which listeners might be familiar with from the 1980’s when it was used as the theme music for ABC Radio National. It was flowing and vibrant with its stirring, surging melody. The Orchestra was large in number, and there was an augmented percussion section for this piece.
The bulk of the first half was the striking Brahms Double concerto – Concerto in A minor for violin, cello and orchestra in 3 movements with guest stars Dimity Hall on violin and Julian Smiles on cello in a passionate, most moving and powerful performance.
Under the umbrella title MARWOOD’S SERENADE the Australian Chamber Orchestra is collaborating with their friend Anthony Marwood as guest director and conductor and lead violin. This concert closes a very exciting 2014 season with some unexpected, delightful riches in a showcase of scintillating string orchestra repertoire.
Marwood himself is tall, pale and imposing, and plays passionately, delicately and with enormous presence. He was born in London and studied with Emanuel Hurwitz at the Royal Academy of Music. Marwood now has a discography of over thirty recordings and has performed internationally with major chamber ensembles.
The program opens with Stravinsky’s balletic tribute to Tchaikovsky, his Divertimento based on La Baiser de la Fee (The Fairy Kiss). The music is glorious and the tone of Marwood’s Bergonzi violin superb. This is Stravinsky at his best, largely using lesser known Tchaikovsky excerpts (for example, instruments are allocated to specific notes of Tchaikovsky’s Humouresque. Some of the work had a mysterious feel, some of it flowed and soared or darted,- you could hear the spins and jumps required for this vibrant work.
The second work on the program, Dvorak’s Serenade for Strings in E major Op. 22 was composed in May 1875. The first movement begins delightfully, lush and swirling, and features two intertwining melodies. Then there is a jaunty, cascading rhythm and a rather wistful melancholic return to the original theme. The second movement includes an impassioned waltz with sweeping, flowing, rippling melodies contrasted with sharp, spiky interruptions.
The third movement is, at first, a little slower but gathers momentum as it continues. The fourth movement was achingly beautiful and poignant. The final fifth movement had a vibrant, spiky fast spectacular opening and concluded with a memorable flourish.
To complete the concert we heard the Enescu Octet, first performed in 1909, in the version for full string orchestra. Enescu’s work is now regarded as a blend of modern and late Romanticism. The work includes roughly nine to twelve melodic themes, most of which are introduced in the first section.
Enescu Octet has a very strong opening with rumbles from the cellos. Later, lilting, meandering melodies are contrasted with tumultuous flurries and fiendishly complicated rhythms.
The second movement was quite briskly played. The last movement was far slower and more melancholic. The playing of the aching melodies was exquisite. Sudden dark stormy changes were interspersed with flowing, luminous sections. The third and final part of the work is a lyrical, slow section which added even more themes.
This was a marvelous concert, full of luscious playing.
Running time 2 hours ( approx) including interval.
MARWOOD’S SERENADE by the Australian Chamber Orchestra is playing the City Recital Hall, Angel Place, on the 19th, 20th and 25th November and at the Sydney Opera House on the 30th November.
This was a superb concert, with the playing energetic and featuring a glorious, warm tone. The Australian Chamber Orchestra’s special guest artist was the internationally renowned Finnish pianist Paavali Jumppanen.
First up, the Lutoslawksi ‘ Subito’ , the composer’s last work , featured Satu Vanska in a firecracker showpiece .It had an electric , explosive opening that was shattering and sharp. The piano as played by Jumppanen is tempestuous and tumultuous ,in wild ,spiky dialogue with the strings which snap and snarl or, sometimes, sing. It is a sharp, fractured piece.