Season Closing Gala – A Musical Celebration (Queensland Symphony Orchestra)
I like the festive atmosphere of a good, closer season. There’s a sort of capillary feeling that sets in as players work their way through to the end of the season, and here at QSO’s high-level season closing gala, that vibe was in full swing. in force.
I was very impressed with the confident and powerful leadership of Umberto Clerici earlier in the year when he illuminated QSO in an incendiary performance by Stravinsky Bird of Fire. So I was expecting big things from him for the performance here. To cut the suspense, my boy, has he ever succeeded. QSO, please give this man an extra paycheck, buy him a case of wine, whatever it takes – it’s good.
The performance started with Rossini The gazza ladra opening. It might be a bit played out (I can’t help but think of the Sony commercials from a few years ago, much to my chagrin), but it can still be fun when an orchestra tackles it. really, like QSO did here. The echoes of the snare drum set a soft martial tone, and Clerici’s clear and confident direction kept everything defined with precision.
Then comes Debussy’s The sea, the masterpiece in three movements which comes as close as possible to Debussy when writing a symphony. In an oral introduction, Clerici noted that the article could be read as a commentary on the importance of water to humanity; he is absolutely a charismatic speaker, able to entertain audiences easily while getting his point across.
Clerici’s experience as a cellist was expressed here, with an almost microscopic attention to detail that brought the piece to life – you could almost smell the salty air in the room. The piece begins in what appears to be pure silence (the first movement is captioned “From dawn to midday on the sea”, or “From dawn to midday on the sea”), but shortly afterwards winds punctuate things with a simple rhythmic statement before things really kick off with a passage of rolling strings. The second movement “Wave Games” or “Wave Game” is a movement that asks the orchestra to act and react with each other throughout – there are so many patterns passed down from player to player. the other and from section to section that it must be transparent enough for some of the passages to work properly. QSOs were playing well here, with Clerici’s laser-focused steering bringing every drop and splash to life. Later, in the final movement “Dialogue du vent et de la mer” or “Dialogue du vent et de la mer”, the horns sounded beautifully rich, before the ethereal and highly chromatic passages that animate the last minutes of the piece. The audience was delighted with this performance, with screams and cheers the second it ended.
Then the resplendent of Richard Strauss Der Rosenkavalier suite, one of those pieces of late romanticism which has a positively golden orchestration. By the way, the original plan for this performance was to have Richard Strauss Last four songs with soprano Emma Pearson. Although I’m certainly not complaining (both Last four songs and Der Rosenkavalier are fabulous, after all), I feel I have to point out that the vibe of each of these rooms isâ¦ quite different from each other. The expected performance of Last four songs would have ended with the German text “as we are weary of wandering – is it perhaps death?” “. Maybe whoever did the original programming would consider that maybe it isn’t a good idea for your end of year concert to remind audiences of, you know, death? It’s water under the bridges since the revised program omits it, but a big escape, I think.
Either way, words like ‘lavish’ or ‘rich’ don’t quite do Strauss’ kaleidoscopic writing justice, but QSO did do the play justice, with a bloody performance that audiences absolutely loved. – Clerici has a real talent for not only driving players to impressive heights of performance, but also for highlighting even the most knotty twists of the end of chromatic romanticism.
Rather, I was hoping for a reminder (maybe a little taste of an Australian piece?) After all this high octane orchestral extravagance, but nothing, I’m afraid. Still, I can understand that even more music after such a large program could have been more than enough for the audience to digest.
A formidable set of performances by a fiery QSO, and another impressive performance from Clerici. Creepy!