The last Maestro concert for 2023 took us on a gentle journey through the Classical period of music. Conducted by our Maestro – Umberto Clerici, a pared back orchestra weaved its way through the music of Rossini, Mozart, Schubert and Prokofiev. Micro – Masterpieces is a 150 year – long journey which links different styles and orchestral writing in one unified Classical arc. The music had our fingers waving along in time to its breathtaking beauty.
Violinist, Rebecca Seymour, introduced the orchestra before our personality filled conductor, Umberto Clerici strode onto the stage. Umberto Clerici’s career spanned over 20 years as a gifted cello soloist and orchestral musician, before achieving rapid acclaim as a conductor. Umberto is now Chief Conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra and his joie de vivre always shines through in the music.
He showed us that small things can have the greatest influence with these symphonies’ beings short in length but powerful in sound. As Umberto waved his baton with a light touch, the orchestra began playing the passionate piece from The Barber of Seville.
This opening symphony was one I immediately recognised and is probably one of the most famous Italian compositions of all time. Written by Rossini, this lilting symphony is not dark and tragic but more whimsical and playful. You can hear Rossini’s comedic spirit throughout.
The overture begins with a call and response as the strings climb the steps of their musical ladder before being joined by the wind instruments. I loved the play between flute and violin in the hurried staccato. The wind instruments skipped and played along as Umberto skilfully weaved the Orchestra together before leading us to a massive crescendo. Romance was in the air with a boisterously happy ending leading to a joyful marriage scene. This was perhaps this romance writer’s favourite piece of the night.
Mozart is always a favourite at QPAC, and his Symphony No. 39 in E flat is pure theatre. It grips you from the first notes with its full-bodied sound. Then to my delight the music lightened. Played in major key this is a joyful piece which had Umberto bobbing in time. The second movement is very gentle before the strings release some tension. The third is in a digestible three beats to a bar. It’s easy to follow and mellow in its delivery. I found it gentle and sweet.
Schubert was deeply influenced by Mozart and the Symphony No.5 in B flat was written when he was only 19. Tonight’s piece was lyrical with plenty of violins working together. The opening to the symphony was light and fresh before blooming into the lively main theme. The last piece of the night was a short piece from Profokiev with his Symphony No. 1. It was only 15 minutes long but playful and fun. A great way to end the evening. I went out into the night dancing on a cloud.
As always, the energetic performance by conductor Umberto Clerici was a highlight and the violins kept things tethered with their masterful performance, which was led by the talented concertmaster, Natsuko Yashimoto. It was also great to see the flutes playing a huge role in tonight’s concert. I am always mesmerised by the joy in the flautists faces as they play.
The audience for this final Maestro concert of the year all agreed that this was a fitting end to the season. I was pleased to hear many people saying that it was a way better concert than they had expected. I thought so too. It soothed my soul after a busy week and was a concert filled with gentleness and kindness throughout. Next year QSO will share its Sounds Like Queensland 2024 season which embraces the Romantics. In February look out for An Italian Vista, Worlds Collide and for Bond fans Casino Royale in Concert.
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).