The aptly named principal timpanist Tim Corkeron welcomed the 450 highschool college students to the packed live performance corridor, particularly any budding timpani gamers. All had been keen to listen to the Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Photos at an Exhibition live performance highlighting two essential Russian composers, and a world premiere from the Victorian composer and author Gordon Kerry. Fortuitously, a lessening of border restrictions enabled each Kerry and conductor Benjamin Northey to return from Melbourne and take part within the momentous live performance. Northey, Limelight’s 2018 Australian Artist of the Year: People’s Choice, Chief Conductor of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor in Residence of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, exclaimed how glad he was to be lastly out of the home after a protracted, lengthy 12 months!
Benjamin Northey conducting the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Photograph © Peter Wallis
The QSO opened with the hardly ever performed pagan-themed Overture from Could Evening by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov. The supernatural people opera relies on the ghostly story by Ukrainian Nikolai Gogol, a couple of witchy stepmother who causes her husband’s daughter to drown herself. The eerie music is distinctly Russian, beginning with a sluggish dolce melody constructing to frantic tumbling strings and blaring horns. The contrasting waltz-like interludes had been lovely and the flute appeared to drift excessive above the orchestra.
Northey reminded the musicians that the composer Gordon Kerry was within the viewers for his world premiere, so there was “no stress!” The sinfonia was commissioned by Kerry’s good friend Marena Manzoufas who handed away in 2019. The Sinfonia concertante has a symphonic structure containing 4 linked actions, but it’s uncommon as each the flute and clarinet solos are additionally built-in into the feel of the orchestra.
Alison Mitchell, Irit Silver, Benjamin Northey and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Photograph © Peter Wallis
The interaction between the crystal tones of the flute of Alison Mitchell and the mellow throatiness of Irit Silver’s clarinet was chic. The harp, strings and vibraphone painted a magical rainforest-like canvas the place the playful twittering motifs of the flute and clarinet chased and teased one another within the daylight. The brass mimicked the woodwind’s calls from a distance while the eerie cellos appeared predatory amongst the shadows. Mitchell’s flute appeared to soar above the musical cover as Silver’s clarinet penetrated the shadows. The 2 solos turned entwined in a mystical harmonious union, leading to explosive applause.
The long-lasting aural vignettes of Photos at an Exhibition, composed in 1874 by Mussorgsky for the piano, had been impressed by the work of Viktor Hartmann when the composer visited a posthumous exhibition on the Imperial Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. Mussorgsky encapsulated the ten work along with his musical compositions, every sculpted to imitate his personal feelings when viewing every one. After Mussorgsky’s dying in 1881 his good friend Rimsky-Korsakov tidied up the composition and in 1922 Maurice Ravel masterfully re-arranged it for the orchestra. Ravel recreated the nuances of the brushstrokes utilizing the distinctive timbres of the devices to raise a group of quirky piano compositions to a treasured voyeuristic journey by way of the exhibition.
As Northey adeptly promenaded the QSO by way of the gallery every part had a possibility to shine. The long-lasting Promenade makes use of the intermezzo trumpet theme to pompously parade between the a whole bunch of work. You may envisage the commanding determine of Mussorgsky strolling across the gallery, head held excessive along with his arms behind his again, stopping to look at every of Hartmann’s artworks within the minutest element. The percussionists appeared to completely take pleasure in delivering their rendition of the Gnome. The brassy motif was marvellously menacing with the smack of the clapper and the whirl of the rattle interspersed with quick bursts from the cellos and double basses.
The orchestra aurally recreated every portray, together with The Previous Fortress with Emma Di Marco’s candy saxophone and a mild string ostinato. A trudging tuba dragged a heavy cart within the Bydło, and flapping flutes with pizzicato strings ran amok within the Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks. You possibly can really feel the chilly clammy hand of the reaper when the trombones and triangle rang out the dying knell within the terrifying Catacombs. In The Hut on Hen’s Legs the strings pulsated with urgency because the brass fled from the ferocious Baba Yaga to the persistent crash of the cymbals. Lastly, the bells chimed over the galloping quavers of the horses, kicking up mud at The Nice Gate of Kiev with Northey artfully steering the musicians as they frantically cascaded up and down the scales. A tumultuous crash of the cymbals and a conclusive sweep of the baton left the viewers ecstatic and the highschool college students wolf-whistling for extra.
The QSO with Benjamin Northey on the helm exhibited an unbelievable virtuosic mastery in Photos at an Exhibition that might be tough to repeat. Fortuitously, you may hear the live performance on ABC Classic on 8 Could at 1 pm (AEST).