Local Aussie orchestra impresses

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Local Aussie orchestra impresses

Post by Brendan » Wed Jun 29, 2005 4:17 pm

A few years ago, our local orchestra, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, nearly went bankrupt trying to elevate itslef from second-tier to first rate, at least by Australian standards. After some savage cutbacks and refusal to pay star-rates for international soloists, and the appointment of one of our great music educators, Richard Gill, as principal, I think they absolutely shone last night. Granted, Beethoven is perhaps less ambitious than Mahler or Bruckner, but the orchestra has shrunk. (http://www.cso.org.au/seasons/2005/concert2_05.htm)

Egmont Overture
8th Symphony
Violin Concerto

There were only two moments in the violin Concerto where I thought - enough with your cadenza! Back to Ludwig van! But the real glory was their superb 8th (after a slight hic-up with wayward flute players disappearing after the overture to the coffee shop, humerously handled by Gill). After all the tribulations of recent years, you could see the orchestra looking at each other afterwards a little surprised at just how good that was.

The 8th is a personal favourite, and I confess to being a little anxious beforehand. I have never heard the strings here just soar, instead of being happy they played all the right notes. That's unkind and inaccurate, but I didn't know how else to express it. Perhaps a better expression may be that they seemd comfortable in the step up to becoming excellent.

The local standard orchestras are measured against is the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. I would rate last night's performance as better than the 8th I heard in Sydney three years ago.

When Isaac Stern was a guest here years ago he wasa superior soloist, but overall last night's concerto was superior, if nothing else because our strings are playing so much better. Our local wodwind, brass and timpani has always been solid, although I wished Gary France (formerly with Cleveland) was still playing.

It was the kind of concert that made everyone want more, and look forward to the next, knowing they are on the improve.

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Post by Ralph » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:02 pm

I wish the orchestra the best of luck. Thanks for the report.

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