As an opener to the primary Maestro Live performance of its 2021 season, Concertmaster Warwick Adeney made two necessary bulletins. The primary that Natsuko Yoshimoto, previously the Concertmaster of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, was the newly appointed Co-Concertmaster of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, and could be main the orchestra for the night’s efficiency. Following his profitable interval as Chief Conductor between 2008 to 2014, Conductor Laureate, Johannes Fritzsch, was additionally appointed Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser to the orchestra for the following three years. The well-respected maestro has been one of many main influences on the inventive growth of the orchestra over the previous few many years. Information of each appointments was greeted with rapturous applause by the viewers and the live performance was off to an exhilarating begin earlier than even one word had been performed.
Johannes Fritzsch, Natsuko Yoshimoto and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Photograph © Peter Wallis
With Maestro Fritzsch in agency management of the night, the QSO served up a deliciously unique program of Rimsky-Korsakov’s symphonic suite, Scheherazade, alongside Ravel’s apotheosis on the waltz, La Valse. Impressed by a group of Center Jap people tales, One Thousand and One Nights, the freshness and sensible musical imagery so prevalent in Scheherazade appeared to resonate within the darker, however no much less vibrant, rendering of the Ravel, who was an admirer of Rimsky-Korsakov. The selection of program appeared each apt and complementary, highlighting the wide-sweeping skills of the orchestra at first of a brand new musical yr.
Representing the domineering Sultan, the darkish, brooding opening of the primary motion of Scheherazade set the tone for a splendidly vibrant interpretation of this work, providing glorious solos for a lot of orchestral devices, which they attacked with alacrity. It was swiftly adopted by the most important leitmotif, representing the storyteller herself, the sultana Scheherazade. The predominant melody of the piece, a young and sensuous solo violin, supported by a mellifluous harp, was performed exquisitely by Yoshimoto via its many repetitions. The tone and sweetness of her instrument rose hauntingly above the orchestra, stuffed with poignancy and longing. A really tremendous interpretation.
With its references to the ocean in all its glory, and Sinbad’s ship, the primary motion was colourfully performed by strings, woodwind and brass, with a sweeping legato from the violins and a few pleasant solo enjoying from flute, clarinet, oboe and French horn particularly. The rolling and crashing waves had been effectively delivered and there was first-rate orchestral precision within the subsiding of the ocean on the finish of the motion.
An impressively performed melody for solo bassoon within the second motion, representing Prince Kalender, additionally included an equally beautiful duet for cello and bassoon. Full of life and brilliant, with a spread of contributions from wind and brass devices, the composition allowed sturdy jap flavours to emerge, assisted by a snaking clarinet, some tinkling percussion, melodious strings and a beautiful marrying of flute and harp.
The gradual third motion, with its fantastically crafted solo flute and clarinet melodies representing a younger prince and princess, was charming and prettily performed, linking effectively with the violin and harp solo. Pizzicato strings and a few further percussive work with tambourines and glorious trumpets accomplished a considerate and well-paced, quasi dance-like motion.
The fourth motion, Allegro, introduced this marvellous narrative to a commanding and powerful conclusion. The forceful sonic imagery of the ocean in all its may was gloriously portrayed; energetic and thrilling, the conflict of cymbals with the added lustre of tambourines was completely delivered. Whereas the shipwreck constructed frenetically to a mighty crescendo, with highly effective brass and percussion, the peaceable coda on the finish returned to Scheherazade together with her mild, haunting theme, musically succeeding in successful over her dictatorial husband.
Johannes Fritzsch and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Photograph © Peter Wallis
Ravel’s La Valse, a brief however completely composed work, was initially conceived as a ballet, subtitled by the composer as a ‘choreographic poem’. Demonstrating the Frenchman’s appreciation of the Viennese waltz, it has dismissively been described as a parody or a pastiche. Moderately it’s a fashionable impressionistic twist on the dance itself, the old-styled waltz struggling to interrupt via a contemporary sonority. That is achieved by an excellent palette of musical colors within the orchestration, effectively managed by an orchestra in first-rate type.
Maybe influenced by the sombre reminiscences of the First World Battle, the work begins with rumbling double basses, trumpets and darkish strings, producing some attention-grabbing wayward sounds via which the standard sound of the waltz regularly takes maintain and dominates. The violins then drove the Viennese dance alongside till extra anarchy breaks out within the percussion and brass, with parts of jazz competing for area. This thrilling part was exceptionally effectively performed by strings, woodwind and brass with vibrant, sweeping sonority. Constructing to a cacophony of just about reckless sounds, the sturdy beat and underlying dance parts had been stored on monitor by the sturdy baton of the maestro.
This live performance was distinctive on many ranges – program alternative, capability to supply orchestral gamers some glorious solos and the addition of a brand new co-concertmaster whose interpretation of the Scheherazade violin solo was exemplary.
However the night additionally belonged to Conductor Laureate, now Principal Conductor and Creative Adviser, Johannes Fritzsch, whose administration of his orchestral forces introduced out the numerous colors of the assorted devices with readability and a exceptional consideration to element, permitting solo devices to shine with confidence. A grasp of his craft, his power and warranted command of the orchestra is all the time a pleasure to look at and the QSO definitely rise to the event when he’s on the rostrum. This was music-making at its easiest.