It was an exuberant and exhilarating Queensland Symphony Orchestra that welcomed a full house back for the 2021 season. Queensland Symphony Orchestra has always been an orchestra for the people so for the first concert back they asked their audience what they would like to hear. Our program was brimming with favourites from Beethoven to Bolero.
SheSociety Columnists Nanny Babe and myself felt privileged to attend an afternoon concert in our beloved Concert Hall on a balmy Brisbane Saturday. Our conductor was Dane Lam who guided us through the afternoon with his usual vim and vigour. From the first notes of Mozart’s Overture The Marriage of Figaro through to the memorable close of Ravel’s Bolero the transfixed audience were swept up and away by the magic of music.
It is only in recent years that I have been heading along to Symphony concerts so I really love it when they play the ‘ Favourites’, most of which I know. The Marriage of Figaro is a long opera, but its overture is short, Mozart’s shortest. This piece of music is a favourite concert opener because of its bustling, scurrying single mindedness and with its emphasis on strings, bassoons, wind instruments and trumpets plus drums this is the perfect overture to lure you in to the rest of the programme to come.
We next heard the majestic Allegretto from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A, mvt2. This piece of music is full of vigour and movement and really gets the blood pumping. It is full of rhythm and evokes skipping in the first movement, before reverting to a solemn march to the end. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 followed. This piece is full of clarinets and strings with the first movement introducing the inspirational message of the piece to the audience, before the second movement which is one of the great love songs. There is an achingly beautiful horn melody which soars over a softly marching bass. The third movement is a waltz which showed off QSO’s superb string and woodwind sections, before finally flowing back to the slower more melodic themes.
My favourite piece was Gershwin’s An American In Paris. You can feel the wide eyed American visitor wandering the streets of Paris within the music. Gershwin even uses klaxon horns meant to represent Parisian taxicabs. The American’s homesickness is revealed through the Blues, before his excitement and curiosity peaks again. It was just a beautiful, uplifting piece played with so much vim and vigour. I was just waiting for Gene Kelly to come bursting from the wings.
Slowing the pace was Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 in E minor, a firm and tender favourite, which featured the sweet cor anglais. The orchestra showed off their skills with woodwind, brass and strings featuring. The cello section were beautiful to watch.
The thrilling climax was Ravel’s Bolero which raised the roof. Beginning gently Lam caressed this Spanish dance slowly before building up to its bold and crashing climax. The energy was palpable and it was obvious the Orchestra were delighted to be back on stage. This was my second highlight of the night. The audience celebrated the beauty of each of the sections input. This was working together at its best.
We were treated to the light Hungarian Dance No.6 as an encore from a clearly invigorated Orchestra.
My fellow columnist, Nanny Babe and I left the concert with tears of joy glistening in our eyes. This concert was a great mix of eras and contained something for everyone. Dane Lam’s energy was infectious and his showmanship was a delight. I loved watching Phoebe Russell and her fellow double bass players swaying away with their majestic instruments, the power of strings in full flight and the crash of the drums and cymbals was exhilarating.
For a great night out or an afternoon matinee head to QPAC and the magnificent Concert Hall for a concert to remember forever. You might even hear some instruments that you never knew existed. Coming up in late February are Arabian Nights and Musical Landscapes. Live music is back and sounds better than ever.
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!).