The opening live performance of the QSO’s 2021 season was chosen from traditional orchestral favourites recommended by the viewers.
Dane Lam conducts the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in QSO Favourites: Beethoven to Bolero. Photograph by Peter Wallis.
Offering an fascinating combine that commenced with a Mozart overture, progressed to well-loved actions from Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak symphonies and eventually to the 20th century with Gershwin and Ravel, Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s (QSO) season opening was a well-balanced, usually efficient program that demonstrated the orchestra’s versatility and the talents of its particular person gamers.
Beneath the baton of Queensland-born conductor, Dane Lam, there was a further power and youthfulness that married effectively with a revitalised QSO, who’re clearly raring to be again on the stage after a troublesome musical 12 months in 2020.
Mozart ‘s overture from his opera The Marriage of Figaro is one in all his most beloved items of music, performed the world over in live performance halls as a signature work. It’s surprisingly brief, as Mozart deleted the center slower motion after the opening night time, maybe in compensation for the size of the opera itself. What we’re left with is a wonderful cacophony of sound; a fast-paced, mad-cap overture representing opera characters scurrying in all instructions and heralding the opera buffa that’s to return. Beginning at velocity with a brisk, maybe overly quick, opening theme from strings and bassoon, Lam managed his orchestral forces with alacrity. Nevertheless, with such a widely known rating, that’s each complicated and demanding, this rendition by Lam appeared to lack crispness and the eye to element required to make it contemporary and alluring.
‘What we’re left with is a wonderful cacophony of sound.’
The second motion of Beethoven’s Symphony No.7 in A, the Allegretto, is against this a stately, majestic and stylish work. Lam took a measured and cautious strategy to the solemn march of this motion with its dotted syncopation, commencing with positive work from the celli and violi. The rhythm gently and steadily gathered momentum with the addition of horns, trumpets and woodwind. Some positive melodic flute solos added an depth to this wondrous motion, one in all Beethoven’s most interesting and most shifting compositions.
Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 in E minor, motion 3, the Waltz, appeared an uncommon selection in a program of ‘all favourites’ as there are numerous items by the Russian composer that one may deem extra worthy than this. The motion is nice sufficient, although the second motion of this symphony would have higher illustrated the emotional roller-coaster of the composer’s music and is undoubtedly one in all his best love songs. The waltz theme was nonetheless well-executed by marvellous string and woodwind taking part in specifically, clearly demonstrating why Tchaikovsky was such a first-rate ballet composer.
The celebrated Largo from Dvořák’s Symphony No.9 in E minor, from the New World suite, a particular favorite with audiences, was fantastically performed by the orchestra, the understated craving expressed sensitively and with a managed emotion beneath Lam’s baton. Its opening poignant theme, the melody repeated all through, was extraordinarily effectively performed by Vivienne Brooke on the cor anglais, who deserves particular point out for her exacting consideration to element and the sweetness of the sound. Nevertheless, all of the woodwind are to be recommended for distinctive work alongside the tenderness of the strings and strong work by the brass.
It’s troublesome to take heed to Gershwin’s extraordinary An American in Paris, with out recalling dancer Gene Kelly because the gauche American exploring the European metropolis. Nevertheless, Dane Lam managed equally effectively to convey all of the sights, sounds and flavour of the town in a passionate sonic rendition of this wonderful work. Demonstrating the numerous musical colors of their devices, the orchestra was in a position to exhibit its many proficient instrumentalists in a variety of solo components, to nice aplomb.
Lam began with a vigorous and light-hearted strategy to the Metropolis of Gentle, the noises of the road together with the vivacious brass, the klaxon horns of the taxicabs, the depth of flutes and oboes, and the solo violin representing the American himself. Intrinsic to the composition, the jazz and blues themes allowed the brass to have a discipline day, with some terrific contributions from trumpets, trombones and tuba, underscored by the double basses, and made full by glorious saxophones. Thrilling and exhilarating, this work was a spotlight of the night.
Ravel’s fantastic Bolero was given star remedy as the ultimate providing and is a perennial favorite. Representing a Spanish dance that begins slowly and quietly, constructing to a frenzied cacophony of sound in its 13 minutes, Lam began his Bolero with a whisper-light easy rhythm on the snare-drum, pizzicato celli and violi, and the quietest repetitive melody on the flute. A mesmerising begin that constructed steadily and slowly as extra devices joined or took up the theme, with extra pizzicato strings that ultimately began to play fiercely and ever louder. With the big power of full percussion and brass, the work lastly got here to a riotous and full-blooded climax, to the delight of the viewers.
Clearly thrilled with being again within the live performance corridor, a brief and enjoyable encore was additionally introduced, which the viewers relished. Brahms’ Hungarian Dance no.6 was each mild and satisfying.
4 stars out of 5 ★★★★
QSO Favourites: Beethoven to Bolero
Queensland Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Dane Lam
Live performance Corridor, QPAC, Brisbane
6 February 2021