Monday, 14 December 2015

Symphony in the City review



The WA Symphony Orchestra concluded the 2015 season with their biggest concert of the year. The Symphony in the City is growing in popularity and attracted over 20 000 people to Langley Park plus those gathered at the Northbridge Piazza and around the state watching the live broadcast.

The free event was narrated by Stephen Curry (Dale Kerrigan from The Castle fame) who declared he was ‘tickled pink’ to be there. For the first time in its nine year history the concert was conducted by principal conductor Asher Fisch who has recently signed on for another three year term. Four screens and sound rigs arrayed through the park ensured picnicking concertgoers could see and hear the orchestra in the beautifully lit sound shell.

Curry's humourous lowbrow commentary included the relaying of Twitter updates and banter about Fisch’s hair: “Do people ever say you look like celebrity chef Marco Pierre White... or Lionel Ritchie?”

But it was Fisch and his orchestra who stole the show with repertoire well chosen to provide contrasting moods plus some sneak previews of the 2016 concert calendar. The orchestra played Strauss’ lilting Blue Danube waltz and children danced in the aisles as the last rays of sun faded over the river. A preview of the 2016 Baroque series featured the luxuriant sounds of the WASO Chorus in Vivaldi’s Gloria followed by excerpts from Bach’s Orchestral Suite No 2. Andrew Nicholson delivered Bach’s sparkling solo flute line with an incredibly warm sound, especially given the open air venue and gusting sea breeze.

Things got a bit fiery for Mars from Holst’s The Planets before the energy wound down for Mozart’s Lacrimosa and Bottesini’s Elegy where Andrew Sinclair’s wistfully singing double bass solo was captured on camera with an intimacy hard to beat even in a concert hall.

Just as the children quieted and the audience relaxed into contemplation Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture literally exploded off the stage. The chorus impressed again with their deep blended Russian sound while the orchestra played the finale with remarkable coherence given the fireworks exploding over their heads!

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