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Concert Reviews - 27 May 2017 - Beethoven's First

Sylvester Kroyherr - Published in Bohemian Rhapsody Club online Newsletter


Given at: Hawthorn Arts Centre, Hawthorn on 27/5/2017.
Guest Conductors: Ingrid Martin and Joseph Lallo
Soloist: Jack Schiller (Bassoon).

The buzzing audience welcomed young Ingrid to conduct the first three pieces, starting with Beethoven’s Coriolan Overture, (composed when he was 37). Although only about 6 minutes long, the orchestra demonstrated an immediate sense of confident drama with well balanced contrasts and fine control.

To continue the bright and fresh start, Luke Hutton’s world premiere Catching Trains of Thought followed. The intriguing palate of moods and emotions created a tapestry of crisp freshness, driven effectively by the orchestra with sweet interplay from the strings. Despite the short 10 minutes, it is a piece that can be listened to several times to explore its subtle complexities. Congratulations to young Luke whom I had the pleasure of meeting at the interval (a rising talent).

The watchful, precise and respectful style of Ingrid followed with Siegfried Idyll by Wagner. As a tribute to his young son, the richly emotional piece was serenely handled by the strings with sweet and sensitive playing from the woodwind section. The gentle moments, crescendos and contrasts were well received by the audience – a great credit to Ingrid Martin!

Following the interval, we had the pleasure of welcoming the other budding young conductor, Joseph Lallo along with bassoon virtuoso Jack Schiller in a performance of Weber’s Bassoon Concerto, composed when he was 25. The smooth, flowing and swaying action of Jack was a joy to watch and to hear. His lyrical tonality was bathed and complimented by the power and subtlety of the orchestra, flowing into the tuneful and gentle second movement that highlighted a beautifully delivered cadenza from Jack, while Joseph guided the Orchestra with great care. Although technically quite difficult, the last movement raced along with great flair and playfulness, displaying Jack’s phenomenal breath control and technical ability. The audience was ecstatic and roared with enthusiasm – rightly so!!

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 1 followed in four movements. He showcased this at the age of 30, which also lasts about 30 minutes. With a sensitive start, the orchestra developed into crisp intensity, conducted elegantly by Joseph, bringing out a commanding drive from the strings and finishing brightly. The second slow movement was well blended by the strings and the woodwind with overtones of Haydn’s Clock Symphony, but overall, well balanced. An exuberant and fast tempo driven third movement followed that displayed well controlled crescendos with a crisp ending. Overall, the showpiece finale was exciting with good strings cohesion and colourful contrasts blended with neat accuracy and tonality – hailed by the audience!!

Although the auditorium has no dais (which is a drawback) and the acoustics are inferior compared to Xavier College, the concert was recorded on the night.

​Congratulations to the two guest conductors, Jack Schiller and the Zelman Symphony Orchestra, as we look forward to future events in 2017. A most enjoyable, exciting and enriching concert – well done everyone, including all the volunteers!

SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Singer/Musician/Architect)

2 June 2017.

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