28 June 2016

27 takes on 14

I play with several of them and I know they are good. This is the Canberra Youth Orchestra and the concert was the second of their Icons series for 2016, this one featuring Dvorak (8th Symphony). But in addition, there were piano soloists Edward and Stephanie Neeman, Edward playing Gershwin Rhapsody in blue without music but with lots of flourish and poignancy, and both playing Mendelssohn Concerto for two pianos. Everyone I spoke to was enraptured afterwards by the Gershwin. It's so bluesy and lyrical and modern and jazzy and well known and easy to like. The Mendelssohn was an early work: he wrote it at age 14. I enjoyed hearing the two pianos, somewhat similar in tone, playing back and forth between them, somewhat int he tradition of call and response but far more busy. Not quite Mozart, suggested some, but still decent and more to come, and presumably younger than pretty much everyone in our youth orchestra. Their ages are up to 27-or-so and this can include high level students and graduates and much younger musicians. I like the extended age range: there's a mix of levels of development and, I assume, some inherent mentoring of younger by older or more experienced. But it's a wonderful sound, musical and committed. These guys have chops and are developing it further. Even conductor Leonard is of their age, if considerably mature in leadership. A pleasure and a frequent revelation.

Canberra Youth Orchestra played Gershwin, Mendelssohn and Dvorak at Llewellyn Hall under Leonard Weiss (conductor) with soloists Edward and Stephanie Neeman (pianos).

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