The wonderful concert that brought the ACO’s 2019 season to a close was entitled BRAHMS/DVORAK with the ACO in glorious rich and finely nuanced form under the leadership of Tognetti whose conducting was precise , vigorous and yet extremely expressive as well .
Andrew Ford’s ‘Fanfare for Neverland’ ( a world premiere) for solo trumpet as played by Visa Haarala up in the top gallery was a bright yet lyrical piece , with the trumpet slithering , skittering and sliding .
The Australian premiere of Andrew Norman’s Grand Turismo followed , using eight virtuoso violinists .It is a flurried , circular conversation between them , at times sharp and spiky then suddenly contrasted with soft lyrical segments and tiny pauses of stillness. The emphatic animated ensemble music has ominous pulsating under rhythms.
Brahms ‘Concerto for violin and cello in A Minor ‘(Double Concerto) made up the bulk of the first half , with the ACO enlarged to the size of a full symphony orchestra , a treat featuring Tognetti on violin and Timo-Veikko Valve on cello in an extraordinary partnership, Helena Rathbone beating time when Tognetti was playing . The entire work crackled with tension.
The first movement began stridently Valve on cello passionately , elegantly ‘singing’ then becoming fiery. lighter flowing sections were contrasted with scurrying orchestral swells .A duet between Tognetti and Valve was hovering lyrical and humming. It was then Tognetti’s turn to ‘ sing’ on the violin in an eloquent , heartbroken fragile solo with the Orchestra dynamically accompanying. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA : BRAHMS AND DVORAK @ CITY RECITAL HALL→
BRAVURA indeed with an astonishing ,breathtaking performance by the Willoughby Symphony with their latest concert BRAVURA and guest star Tony Lee on piano . Dr Nicholas Milton conducted energetically and enthusiastically yet was extremely precise .The orchestra gave a crisp , polished performance that was inspired, fiery and passionate where required with a rich well – rounded tone.
First we heard Zoltan Kodaly’s Dances of Galanta , a set of Hungarian dances based on traditional Gypsy themes . Horns blare then the exuberant dances begin with their whirling , infectious melodies , with slithering sensuous clarinet ,shimmering , quivering strings and insistent woodwind leading to the fiery , explosive conclusion .
For this reviewer the major highlight was Franz Lizst’s Piano Concerto No 2 in A , S 125 in four movements with multi award-winning Australian Lee as soloist. It began at a moderate pace with flowing woodwind which were joined by rich strings. Lee on piano at first played delicately, like crystal water drops. It then became shimmering and cascading , changing to fiery and emphatic , insisting listen to me! .There was an almost martial atmosphere at this point , strings a strong undercurrent . Lee on piano suddenly leaps and bounds, with scurrying strings.
The piano returns to whirling and leaping with a sudden change back to shimmering crystal . Pulsating throbbing strings rumble while the piano floats into a lyrical, flowing solo ‘aria’ which then changes to an emphatic, spiky dialogue – almost confrontation – with the Orchestra before a return to calmer waters. But then Lee on piano suddenly darts and jumps leading to the crashing , tumultuous ending , leaving everyone gasping.
For an encore Lee treated us to a volcanic ,insistent solo performance of the last movement of Prokofiev’s 7th Sonata that took us to interval.
After interval came a strong, impassioned performance of Brahms’ Symphony No 4 in E Minor Op 98., the last of his four symphonies. It is very complex and an immaculate example of symphonic construction , finely nuanced and with great attention to phrasing and balance.
The piece had a rich multilayered opening with a sweeping luxurious waltz like melody followed by vibrant woodwind with delicate pizzicato from the strings. The woodwind become emphatic and then there are flowing strings and woodwind sections leading to the stirring ending with crashing drums.
The second movement begins with the horns blaring the melody after which the strings limpidly , richly flow , interwoven with the woodwind. There is a measured, thoughtful passing around the various sections of the orchestra development of the melody which become brisk and animated but then slows back to a calmer mood with a throbbing undertone of strings.
The third movement opens with an explosive BANG – a tumultuous start .The orchestra is very strong and emphatic – it is a thunderous, galloping ,boisterous discussion between the various sections. And listen out for the triangle!
The final fourth movement had a powerful dramatic opening , and there was snaky woodwind and repetition of a circling melody featuring elegant strings and haunting insistent woodwind .the mood changed to steely , with scurrying strings and darting woodwind leading to the throbbing wall of sound for the conclusion.
ACO: TOGNETTI TCHAIKOVSKY BRAHMS
This is a vibrant , electrifying concert that was superbly played and had the packed audience bursting with enthusiasm. The work of two masters was paired with that of two female composers born in 1980 and included an Australian and a world premiere.There was a rich lustrous sound throughout. Continue reading AUSTRALIAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA: TOGNETTI TCHAIKOVSKY BRAHMS→
LEGENDS OF PAST from the Sydney Youth Orchestra (SYO) was a bold start to this year’s season. With later concerts this year including an opera, opera music and other highly dramatic programmes, this concert’s tribute to the ANZACS in a commemorative year was a colourful, collaborative and meaningful start to 2015.
The programme included an exciting world premiere work, ‘Cathedra’, by Andrew Howes, a Sydney-born composer aged in his early twenties. Written for large forces and containing penetrating effects, it made for a stunning opening. Its soundscape, intended to commemorate fallen soldiers at Gallipoli, fitted in well with the concert’s extra-musical agenda.
Following this work came a break from pure orchestral entertainment with a monologue by Morris Gleitzman, the Australian author of ‘Loyal Creatures’. This monologue was given a poignant performance by Australian actor Paul-William Mawhinney. His measured and genuine portrayal as the ghost of young soldier Frank alternated beautifully between rollicking anecdote and moments of choking heartbreak. It was a touching reminder of the sacrifices made during the Gallipoli and Egyptian campaigns by soldiers of the Lighthorse Brigade. Continue reading Sydney Youth Orchestra-Legends of Past @ City Recital Hall→
The final Met Series concert for 2014 saw TMO in fine form delivering drama and atmosphere within the structure of works by Mozart, Sibelius and Brahms. The soloist for this evening was violinist Kirsten Williams, accompanied attentively by the orchestra.
Opening the program was the overture to Mozart’s opera ‘The Magic Flute’. Its contrasted sections of solemn and energetic music evoked the colourful layers of this fanciful story well. It was also a suitable prelude to the drama waiting to unfold in the Met Concert program.
In the hands of Kirsten Williams, excerpts from Sibelius’ Violin Concerto showed a mastery of rendering the sprawling melodic lines and constant changes of mood. Her tone was searching and pure in the upper register. There was a pleasing rapport with TMO, which supported with warm tone and consistency of mood alongside the soloist. The hushed anticipation in strings for the opening to the first movement was exquisite. Continue reading MET CONCERT # 4→
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