This is the concert we’ve all been waiting for. Mozart’s Requiem is one of the most famous pieces of classical music ever performed. Did you know it was finished by one of his inner circle after his death? First performed in the late 1700’s, this epic masterpiece has delighted audiences throughout the world.Today it was performed by our beloved Queensland Symphony Orchestra accompanied by the voices of the Brisbane Chamber Choir, with four soloists coming to the fore.
Soprano – Sara Macliver, Mezzo Soprano – Fiona Campbell, Tenor – Andrew Goodwin and the deep Bass of Pelham Andrews were a treat to listen to today. These singers seemed to rattle the roof of the Concert Hall. The talented Jonathon Stockhammer was our merry conductor for the day.
The beautiful Mozart’s Requiem will be familiar to many as it’s been widely used in TV shows and movies, from Star Trek to Mission Impossible. Although an iconic and much loved piece, it can provoke terror in parts. It was the basis of the film, Amadeus. Much of the concert was devoted to this piece, which while mournful, gave me goosebumps as the choir reached full voice.
Mozart’s Requiem is forty six minutes long and divided into five sections. I loved the introduction which focuses on the clarinets and bassoons.The trombones blasted as they introduced the choir, which truly sounded like a chorus of angels.
The third section was harmonious with the choir and orchestra rising as one to the Dies Irae, before the Mirium section which began with a trombone solo, before the four soloists began to sing. It was amazing to hear the unique sounds that each different human voice could make. Our seats were nice and close, so we could capture their every expression as they sang. It was rather mournful and filled with doom and gloom before reaching the fifth section.
The fifth section became more lively and upbeat before rising up as one in the final section. Music and choir built up layer upon layer. It was truly breathtaking and a magnificent moment to be a part of. The choir often sings with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra but this was my first experience of them working together. I found it exhilarating.
The opening of the concert was something completely different for me as only the woodwinds arrived on stage. Here we were treated to Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments. The piece is quite experimental, so I wasn’t sure at the start, but as the flutes and clarinets darted about it began to feel like a little woodwind dance. It’s great to hear the trombone and tuba bellowing and lamenting the death of the great composer, Claude Debussy, to whom this piece is dedicated.
Lighter, was the work of Debussy himself with Prelude to “ The Afternoon of a Faun”. It was an atmospheric piece inviting us to frolic in the forest for just a while. I loved the flute solo inviting us in. As we gambol and play in the leaves, frolicking with the wood nymphs, we tire. The harp flutters to invite us into sleep and captures the invitation to dream alluring dreams. The delicate strings and harp were lovely. As a writer I do love these short pieces which tell a story and paint a mental picture.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra never ceases to surprise with the variety of music played. I loved this collaboration with the Brisbane Chamber Choir, which is celebrating it’s 25th year this year. As QSO is celebrating its 75th year, that’s 100 years of musical experience on display for Queensland concertgoers. As we left the Concert Hall there were smiles all around. The gentleman next to me said, “ Well, that was rather good wasn’t it?”. Yes, it was rather good and a lovely antidote to a dreary, wet week for many here in Brisbane. I smiled for days. I’d been powered by the beautiful music of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Watch out in June and July for the upcoming Opera Gala, Fantasy and Folklore and Elgar and Mahler.
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!).