09 April 2016

Mozart and restoration

Our Canberra Symphony Orchestra started its new year with a visiting conductor and a Mozart theme. First up with Mozart himself with Symphony no.31 in D major Paris, but the other works were more modern takes, Tchaikovsky with Suite no.4 in G major with themes from Mozart (and we were told, Glinka, with influences of Liszt) and Jonathan Dove Magic Flute dances which features the magic flute in its escapades after Mozart's original story is complete (amusing thought), here played by Virginia Taylor. And one from left field, Nigel Westlake Out of the blue. I'm told some work of Nigel Westlake will be featured in all CSO concerts this year. The Mozart was as expected: dignified, hugely pretty with inevitable phrasing and fine lines. The Dove referred to Mozart but with a real modern sensibility, changing times, much harder counting all round, sparser instrumentation. The Tchaikovsky was busier, earthier with some blistering lines. I noticed the bassist comparing or practicing some fast lines before the gig. There were some beauties throughout, with the pinnacle in an encore of the Overture from Marriage of Figaro. Otherwise, the orchestra sounded professionally sweet, nicely intoned and satisfyingly filling the large space of Llewellyn, even from the circle where we were sitting. It's nice up there to see the whole orchestra although the sound seems to me more clinical, less involving. And the Westlake. Apparently it was his first composition after an accident and we're told the music came easily at first, then in disparate components later, and Westlake kept them this way. I found the repetition attractive and compelling, but I like this sort of thing; a companion was less satisfied. So be it. Nice concert, well themed, interesting and not too challenging.

The Canberra Symphony Orchestra performed with Benjamin Northey (conductor) and Virginia Taylor (solo flute) at Llewellyn Hall.

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