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Concert Reviews - 21-22 May 2016 - Young Romantics

Sylvester Kroyherr - Published in Bohemian Rhapsody Club online Newsletter


Following an informative pre-concert introduction by Mark Shiell that touched on the youthful brilliance of Mendelssohn and the serious exactness of Beethoven, the concert started with The Hebrides Overture by Felix Mendelssohn (sometimes referred to as Fingal's Cave). The Orchestra glided into the piece with gentle confidence capturing the ebb and flow of the sea along the Scottish coastline followed by the thunderous blend of the trumpets and brass. Mark Shiell guided the orchestra with great energy along with the delicate key changes. Although only lasting about ten minutes, the delivery was fused with power and gentleness, giving the audience great delight, touching even the older romantics!

Excitement and anticipation grew (rightly so), as the petite, beautiful and talented Kathryn Taylor approached the stage to present the exciting Violin Concerto Op.64 by Mendelssohn. With an expressive and sweet start to the First Movement her gut-stringed Old Italian violin displayed great richness. The technically difficult passages were crowned by her masterly cadenza; later blending smoothly with the orchestra, especially the flutes and woodwind while finally linking the ending to the Second Movement with great ease. To develop the rich, mysterious and lyrical movement, the oboe played a significant part adding to the glorious sounds of Kathryn’s rich violin. Transcending directly into the Third Movement, the breezy energy continued with bouncing fun and flair by all the Orchestra, while the violin was notable in the interplay with the flutes. Moreover, the powerful finale produced a grand finish.

And then a sweet surprise – an Encore! Meditation by Massenet, was sensitively and expressively interpreted with gentle nurturing by the Orchestra (in the Interval that followed, I had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn - a young and rising violinist).

To finish off the evening the Orchestra presented the powerful Symphony No.7 by Beethoven – in four Movements. With a slow start to the First Movement, the momentum grew and maintained itself with command and confidence – a dynamic performance by the horns. The Second Movement that opened with solemnity and a slow pace soon developed into a shared experience throughout, well handled by the Orchestra and colourfully fashioned to lead into the Third Movement. Presto is fast and lively – thus we were drawn firstly into an energetic beginning to follow through with good driving interplay and a crisp ending (compliments to the flutes). With the audience stirred by the preceding movement, the Fourth Movement flew into the energetic driving themes in a positive manner and much to the delight of everyone. A terrific ending to a well attended concert!

Full marks to Mark Shiell and the Zelman Symphony Orchestra, as we look forward to future events in 2016 and beyond.

Footnote: It was noted that the HAC’s acoustics were inferior to the Eldon Centre and as the orchestra was not elevated, the view of the orchestra was very limited at the stalls. The conductor’s dais could also be upgraded (presentation is important).

SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Singer/Musician/Architect) - 24 May 2016

Bronislaw Sozanski

There was a feast of excellent music in Daylesford on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of May.

On the Sunday, the Zelman Orchestra presented its annual concert in the Daylesford Town Hall, with a program of Mendelssohn and Beethoven. Beginning with the Hebrides Overture of Mendelssohn, conductor Mark Shiell set a comfortable pace to shape the melodic line while bringing out the many orchestral colours of this popular work. This was followed by an outstanding performance of the same composer's violin concerto. Soloist Kathryn Taylor impressed from the first note, with strong technique and a clear, warm tone. There was a freshness and excitement in the playing of this well-known concerto, highlighting the thorough preparation of soloist and orchestra.

The concert concluded with Beethoven's seventh symphony, a work of great rhythmic energy in its fast movements and pathos in the beautiful allegretto movement. The skill and preparation were evident from the start. Acknowledging all the repeats, Mark Shiell set a cracking pace, with the scherzo clearly demonstrating the way in which Beethoven had moved on from the more restrained style of his contemporaries. This orchestra continues to take on big challenges, guaranteeing a whirlwind ride at each performance.

Bronislaw Sozanski B.A. Dip.Ed. A.T.C.L.

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