With our music appetite sustained mainly through radio (especially during the COVID blackout), we ventured, as virtual raw recruits, to a rare (these days) live performance by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra at Brisbane’s Concert Hall.
We weren’t regulars, as shown by almost leaping to our congratulatory feet at the wrong time during the orchestra’s 2020 Season Finale – BEETHOVEN’S EMPEROR .
But, after muzzling our early enthusiasm, we were quickly caught up in the magic, as this band of brothers and sisters filled the Brisbane Concert Hall with joy and pageantry.
There’s something special about entering into another world.
And symphony orchestras and the people who live and play in them are from another world.
As we waited for the opening notes, we couldn’t help but think of the hours of practice required from an early age to make the grade. The dedication, the commitment.
All other thoughts were quickly blown away, however, when, after a brief tune up, the orchestra got down to business.
The first part of the program was Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 in E flat, Op.73 (Emperor) with world-renowned Australian pianist Daniel de Borah leading the way.
It was spellbinding stuff as internationally recognized conductor Johannes Fritzsch and de Borah led the orchestra on an enthralling journey penned by Beethoven some 200 years ago.
After a short break it was onto the second half of the program, Italian composer Ottorini Respighi’s Pines of Rome, which took the audience on a joyous and resounding journey through the Eternal City’s historic magnificence as he saw it around 100 years ago.
Throughout it all, maestro Fritzsch, who has had a long association with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, bounced and smiled as he coaxed great music from the orchestra, of which Queenslanders have every reason to be rightly proud.
For us, the afternoon performance was addictive, from the keyboard mastery of de Borah, who did Beethoven proud, to the intensity of Respighi’s work.
Respighi was one of the best-loved, most recorded and widely performed of all composers of the 20th century.
There was certainly grandeur and ceremony which gave both of us goosebumps with its sheer power. Power, pomp and glory which unfortunately led to the BBC banning his music during WW2 for incorrectly claiming it had facist connotations.
What a shame that people back then missed out on what we saw, heard and enjoyed.
This concert can be relived on ABC Classic on 13 December at 12pm (AEDT)