Tag Archives: Edward Elgar

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : ENIGMA @ THE CONCOURSE

The latest wonderful concert by Willoughby Symphony was entitled ENIGMA .Under the inspired graceful and enthusiastic conducting of Dr Nicholas Milton the Orchestra had a huge rich sound and was in top form.

First up we heard Gershwin’s An American in Paris, jauntY, frantic and bustling. (Readers might be familiar with the 1951 movie). There were perhaps overtones of jazz and also Ravel, It was bright, bouncy and tumbling but also featured quieter, more lyrical moments. A smoky trumpet and strident tuba as well as whirling, scurrying rhythms contrasted with shimmering delicate strings and woodwind all leading to the stirring, crashing conclusion. And look and listen out for the taxi horns!

Then came an astonishing virtuoso performance of Henri Tomasi’s Trumpet Concerto, with guest star Rainer Saville in a dazzling display. It was a challenging showcase. Sometimes the Orchestra was rich and flowing, other times sharp and spiky. Saville on trumpet was like a leading tenor with sliding runs and trills and at times a rather martial sound. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : ENIGMA @ THE CONCOURSE

Willoughby Symphony : Last Night of the Proms @ The Concourse

Cello soloist Benett Tsai.

Following in the grand tradition of Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, this was a quite British concert with several old favourites included and also featuring some Scandinavian music. Audience members attended the concert fully prepared to enjoy themselves and that they certainly did.

The concert, held at the Concourse, Chatswood where the WSO is the resident orchestra, featured huge cast of performers with the combined forces and talents of the Willoughby Symphony and the Willoughby Choir. The featured soloist this year was astonishing Benett Tsai on cello. Dr Nicholas Milton conducted with enormous panache and flair, and introduced the various works and soloists.

It opened with the stirring yet stately Pomp and Circumstance Military March No.4 by Elgar, a Proms staple and an audience favourite. This was followed by the dramatic nationalistic tone poem Finlandia Op.26 by Sibelius with ominous horns and drums, scurrying strings and rumbling cellos and double bass. The Choir was strong and powerful in the penultimate Finland Awakes and was underscored by tremulous strings. Continue reading Willoughby Symphony : Last Night of the Proms @ The Concourse

The Metropolitan Orchestra: Met Concert 2 @ The Eugene Goosens Hall

TMO Chief Conductor Sarah-Grace Williams with piano soloist Bernard Walz
TMO Chief Conductor Sarah-Grace Williams with piano soloist Bernard Walz

The Metropolitan Orchestra (TMO) continues to illustrate their versatility and industry as an orchestra. Amongst some fourteen concerts and events for 2015, TMO appeared with John Farnham and Olivia Newton John in April. They have family concerts with children’s favourites Lah-Lah and Buzz planned for late May.

TMO took a gamble when programming Met Concert 2 with such savage contrasts between the works. It is a gamble which more than paid off for the orchestra. The sold out house could probably have sold a decent amount of tickets for a comfortably-seated repeat concert.

The orchestra explored the musical portraiture of Englishman Edward Elgar, visited Kodály’s nationalistic response to historical Hungarian music, and collaborated with pianist Bernard Walz to revive Gershwin’s marriage of jazz elements with the traditional concerto form. Continue reading The Metropolitan Orchestra: Met Concert 2 @ The Eugene Goosens Hall