12 January 2016


James Crabb commented on the energy backstage before the gig, that all concerts should be so alive. It's something that I've noticed before and that makes the AYO's National Music Camp something special. These girls and guys are young and committed, working hard and having a ball. They are also very capable and well trained and it's all obvious and a key to the pleasure which is this series. The second concert was another orchestral outing, again with the chamber and two large symphony orchestras. The Alexander Orchestra under Erik Nielsen opened with Weber's Oberon overture. I've played it so could follow closely and I admired the series of rapid bass lines. Megan asked had I played all that. Yes. Perhaps not quite so fast; I'll have to return to the recordings to confirm that. What got me was the clarity of lines at that speed. Playing fast is not so difficult, but fast and clearly with no faking is the test. These notes were all there and distinct. Then the Smalley Chamber Orchestra playing Elgar Introduction and Allegro. I liked the composition and the performance. I found the piece superbly attractive for strings and can only hope to play it sometime. James Crabb joined both symphony orchestras to lead and feature on Piazzolla Acongagua. This is a concerto for bandoneon and orchestra, played here on chromatic accordion. Typical Piazzolla, enhanced tangos, simple harmonic movements, attractive and mobile. JC did a nice job leading and a very impressive job on the accordion (much enjoyed for delicacy and speed and phrasing). Strangely, the Bishop Orch played the first movement, then gave way to Alexander for the next two. Weird and interrupted but it worked well enough. Then, after interval, the Bishop returned under Brad Cohen for the exhilaration of John Adams Short ride on a fast machine (apt given Summernats is on just up Northbourne Ave) and Ravel Daphne and Chloe which was, to me, feeble after the excitement of Adams. I guess it deserves another listen in a different environment. The whole went out live on ABC Classic FM and the other orchestral concerts will also be broadcast over coming weeks. All lively and capable and exciting and a great first afternoon and evening for the AYO.

The second concert of the Australian Youth Orchestra National Music Camp 2016 was orchestral, with the Smalley Chamber Orchestra, Bishop Orchestra under Brad Cohen (conductor) and Alexander Orchestra under Erik Nielsen (conductor). They played Webern, Elgar, Piazzolla, Adams and Ravel.

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