Review – A Musical Feast
A musical feast was somewhat of a fabulous dinner dance with four lively dances of the Slavonic and Hungarian kind included.
The opening Slavonic Dances Numbers 1 and 8 by Anton Dvorak were an indication of the feast to follow. The rhythm and exuberance was conveyed so well we didn’t need to actually see the dancers performing those tricky steps. Brahms Hungarian dances which lead the second part of the program were similarly very lively and invigorating; Brahms used folk songs extensively in these pieces and while being no expert I felt quite a bit of gypsy music infiltrated them.
“The BRO’s interpretation under Mark Shiell’s baton was crisp, and the move from the dark, atmospheric mood to the lighter song or hymn seemed startling, this was done so beautifully and effortlessly. As a non musician, I loved it” - a fan N.S.W Soprano, Julie O’Connor sang four of the most beautiful songs in the repertoire. Her voice was pure and very versatile in the range of notes required. She also had the best facial and hand gestures I have seen which really enhances the enjoyment of the music. Many singers, whilst having a great voice, tend to be wooden in gesture and stance. The Orchestra was very much part of the song, never intruding but always asserting its contribution to the overall beauty of the music.
In this 150 anniversary year of Sibelius Finlandia was a joy to hear again. This became Finland’s unofficial anthem during the independence war against Russia (played under a variety of names so as to not to antagonise the aggressors) in the 1890’s and is very stirring.
My friend commented that “The BRO’s interpretation under Mark Shiell’s baton was crisp, and the move from the dark, atmospheric mood to the lighter song or hymn seemed startling, this was done so beautifully and effortlessly. As a non musician, I loved it”
A musical feast without Beethoven and Bach would be like food without salt. We were privileged to hear Bach’s Double Violin Concerto’s 1st movement with two of the many talented young players from the orchestra, Julia Ramsbotham and Florence Cappler-Shillington, masterfully playing the double solo and the orchestra’s string section ably accompanying them. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony’s first movement was slightly different as Conductor Mark Shiell’s research showed that Ludwig Van originally meant it to be at a different tempo to what we are now accustomed to hear. The Orchestra certainly showed how right he was, every note could be heard and every note added up to a most beautiful piece of music which was over too soon.
For me the piece de resistance of the concert was Rossini’s William Tell Overture, the first part with the cellos and double basses was sublime then I found I just didn’t want the storm to finish but when the Trumpets heralded the more familiar part I was carried along with the galloping music – it was great music played very well.
For that little bit of extra chocolate we were treated to a repeat of the Hungarian Dance No 5.
So Bravo Mark, Bravo Musicians, Bravo everyone who contributed – as I say after almost every concert – This has been the best concert yet.