Tag Archives: Johannes Brahms

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY CHAMBER SERIES CONCERT 1

Those of us in the shamefully small audience (where was everyone?) were treated to a heavenly concert, the first of this year’s Willoughby Symphony Chamber series at the Zenith.

After a wonderfully successful first year, the Willoughby Symphony’s chamber music series returns for its second season with three exhilarating concert experiences in 2019. This year the Artistic Director for the Chamber series is Daniel Dean.

This  concert was full of fine ensemble playing which was rich textured and multi layered. First we heard Louise Farrenc’s Nonet in E-flat which brought her great acclaim and, perhaps more importantly, equal pay as a composer, in 1850. The first movement began with a rich, flowing opening for strings and woodwind. The nine magnificent players then entwined in an infectious melody with some bright rather bouncy sections contrasted with soaring lyrical segments and showy solos for some of the instruments. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY CHAMBER SERIES CONCERT 1

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT : DISCOVERY @ 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’s Cudmirrah 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.

Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA CONCERT : DISCOVERY @ THE CONCOURSE

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

The Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and conductor Dr Nicholas Milton were off to a terrific start for 2017 with their concert entitled GENIUS, part of the year long program entitled ENDURING PASSION.

The concert featured works by Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Brahms with special guest artist, gifted violinist Lily Higson-Spence.

Overall the orchestra was in fine, glowing form with a delicious rich tone. Dr Milton conducted very energetically yet extremely precisely .

The concert rocketed off to a tense, dynamic start with Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No.3. In the form of a dramatic full scale single symphonic movement, the piece was eloquently played and featured an augmented horn section. The work featured surging, crashing, tempestuous strings with a flute soaring above and  an inquisitive questioning woodwind, all leading up to an impressive, thrilling finale.

Guest artist Lily Higson-Spence, in a long flowing halter neck beige gown with a large bow at the back, dazzled playing Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E Minor Op.64.

The standard symphonic structure is used by Mendelssohn but slightly changed by the composer. It is regarded as one of the most lyrical and flowing works of its type and is one of the most frequently performed of all violin pieces. The work had its premiere in Leipzig on March 13, 1845.

For this work, Higson-Spence, Dr Milton and the Orchestra combined as one for a magnificent performance. It was mostly Higson-Spence ,however, leading the discussion between the three in collaborative harmony .

Higson-Spence’s bravura solos were mesmerising. Her violin had a pure tone, precisely controlled yet volcanic underneath. Sometimes the violin, singing its heart out, was lyrical and reflective, melancholic and passionate, at other times the violin darted about at a blistering pace.

There was a seamless flow between movements : the first was somewhat turbulent, with a wonderful bassoon transition to the ardent second movement and the third movement was animated , leading to an invigorating finale. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA : GENIUS @ THE CONCOURSE

WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR PRESENT A CONCERT FULL OF JOY

Featured photo – Pianist Kathy Selby.

For the latest concert combining the marvelous talents of the Willoughby Symphony and Choir, the concert hall at the Concourse was packed to the rafters and we were privileged to hear some ravishing, glorious playing and singing.

The program opened with a delightful , somewhat boisterous rendition of the Brahms Academic Festival Overture Op.80. Written for the University of Breslau, the piece was given a brisk, dynamic reading. Rather lighthearted, Brahms develops and expands the melodies of four well known student drinking songs and the piece features triumphant horns.

The audience loved the work and the orchestra was obviously enjoying itself under the very energetic direction of Dr Nicholas Milton. Continue reading WILLOUGHBY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHOIR PRESENT A CONCERT FULL OF JOY

NEDERLANDS DANCE THEATRE @ THE STATE THEATRE ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE

I was fortunate  enough to see this extraordinary performance by the legendary Nederlands Dans Theater, who are in Australia for a  very brief Melbourne only tour.

This was a thrilling, dazzling triple bill of contemporary dance.  The performance featured two works choreographed by the Company’s Artistic Director and Artistic Advisor respectively, the duo of Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot with one work by Canadian Crystal Pite. Continue reading NEDERLANDS DANCE THEATRE @ THE STATE THEATRE ARTS CENTRE MELBOURNE