HEAVENLY, Music To Lift Your Soul was an apt opening for Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s (QSO) first Maestro season for 2019 as introduced by QSO Chief Executive, Craig Whitehead in QPAC’s Concert Hall.
An appreciative packed audience was lead into sublime and beautiful sounds as promised, with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27 in B flat, K595. It was Mozart’s last piano concert before he died in 1791, and his story of rising above his financial struggles touched our hearts. Our ears and eyes were treated to conductive musical energy lead by one of the world’s most highly regarded young conductors, Scandinavian Daniel Blendulf.
Audiences may have been prepared for a performance by Music Director Alondra de la Parra who was recently whisked away to temporarily conduct at the prestigious Staatsoper Berlin, but Daniel did not disappoint. He was outstanding. I cannot help but wonder how someone so young carries the exquisite brilliance of an old master. From his podium we felt his emotion as his visible gestures immediately set a clear and precise tempo to shape his ensemble’s interpretation to sound.
We continued to be enchanted by exceptional QSO artist-in-residence acclaimed British pianist Paul Lewis. His seemingly effortless portrayal of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27 took me into a magical place. It felt like heaven and I wanted to float on my introspective cloud. Our journey took us through three movements form allegro (lively and fast) to larghetto (broadly) and returned to allegro. Paul gave us virtuosic Mozart moments, as the reminiscent notes sprang forth like a child, but with an overriding sense of restraint. The simmering of strings leads the entire orchestra into the closing of this masterpiece.
For the second half of the evening the word ‘heavenly’ becomes more literal in Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No.4. He wanted to create the impression in his work of heaven as seen through the eyes of a child although there are deeper spiritual and profound elements throughout the four Movements. The fourth movement was composed for a boy soprano, although it is usually performed by a light female voice and according to Mahler, with “a sincere, childlike expression always without parody!”. Mahler composed this symphony between 1899 and 1901 and continued to revise and edit before his death in 1911.
Mahler’s wonderful song about heaven was adhered to, sung by our own local soprano from Mackay, Morgan England-Jones. Morgan graduated from Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University and we were fortunate to hear Morgan speak at the pre-concert talk. It was her first time working with her new conductor. She spoke about how important it was to translate long dead authors scores and to get it right. Morgan needed to be well prepared. She practiced in various ways to ensure correct interpretation of a new conductor’s composition was possible, with minimal rehearsal times. Morgan’s pure powerful voice has been featured in a number of compositions. Her debut operatic role as Micaela in the collaborative concert, Carmen in Concert was in 2017 as was her orchestral debut with QSO.
Need it be said the strings, brass, woodwind, and percussion sections of the orchestra, physically placed according to the Western classical orchestra structure, resonated sounds by specific techniques to emit an extended composition of haunting beauty throughout the entire evening.
I am one appreciative audience member raised with classical music. Consequently, a huge thank you to Kath Rose & Associates for inviting She Society to witness the beginning of an exciting symphonic season. There are superb and diverse concerts to look forward to this year, this was just the beginning.
For further information on Queensland’s Symphony Orchestra 2019 season you can download the brochure at www.qso.com.au ,Phone (07) 3833 5044, Email email@example.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @QSOrchestra
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