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Joys and Sorrows - Brisbane Symphony Orchestra

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by Karina Bryer (subscribe)
I'm a mother of four with two coeliac children. I'm always on the lookout for great gluten-free spots around Brisbane and feature gluten-free cooking in my blog: I'm also a muso and enjoy live music around town.
Elgar, Mendelssohn & Tchaikovsky in an expressive tribute

This Sunday as part of the 4MBS Festival of Classics, conductor Paul Dean will lead the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra through a musical tribute to his late father, one of the major influences in his life as a musician. In the beautiful surrounds of Brisbane's City Hall, he will take audiences on a musical journey beginning with the uplifting Hebrides Overture, Elgar's moving Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky's famous sixth Symphony, The Pathétique.

Cello Brisbane Symphony Hebrides
The cello section feature in the emotive Hebrides Overture

Mendelssohn found his inspiration for the Hebrides Overture during one of his many trips to the United Kingdom. In 1829 on a day trip to the island of Staffa in Scotland, he viewed the famous basalt cave, Fingal's Cave and wrote later that he immediately went home and penned the opening theme to this work, so taken was he by the scene. He originally titled his composition "To the Lonely Island", however in 1833 the work was published under the name "The Hebrides Overture". Publishing company Breitkopf and Hartel later published it under the name "Fingal's Cave", which is it's more popularly known title. This Overture, really an early example of a tone poem, makes it easy to envisage crashing waves, ocean seas and the desolation of this remote area, making it a favourite to be used in movie scores.

Trish O'Brien Elgar Cello
Trish O'Brien will perform Elgar's beautiful Cello Concerto. Photo courtesy of Ensemble Q

Trish O'Brien, Artistic Director of the Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium and Co-Director of Ensemble Q is an experienced performer, having played with the Navarra Quartet (UK), the Australian String Quartet and the Grainger Quartet. She has performed as a soloist and chamber musician at the Alpine Classic Music Festival (Switzerland), Bangalow Music Festival and Camden Haven Music Festival, just to name a few. Trish brings her love of the cello to the forefront in the Elgar Cello Concerto. This work marks a period in his life when the war in Europe had just finished and many were still reeling from the scale of the loss of life, town and country. The work is sombre, heartfelt and introspective and is his final major work as a composer. The piece had a disastrous premiere after being performed with little preparation and did not become a part of mainstream repertoire until at age twenty, Jacqueline du Pre made it famous in a recording with the London Symphony Orchestra in 1965. This recording not only cemented the career of one of our best-known cellists, but ensured the future of this wonderful work.

Tchaikovsky Pathetique
Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote his final symphony in 1893

Often misunderstood to be a sad reflection on his life or a final penning, rather the Russian word Patetitčeskaja which his brother dubbed the Symphony, translates to "passionate" in English. The work is indeed passionate. Tchaikovsky gave clues as to what he hoped to convey in his early sketch for an E flat major symphony, which included the words, "The ultimate essence … of the symphony is Life. First part – all impulse, passion, confidence, thirst for activity. Must be short (the finale death – result of collapse). Second part love: third disappointments; fourth ends dying away (also short)." While the sixth symphony doesn't completely fit this form, it is an insight into what Tchaikovsky was trying to achieve in this Symphony. His brother, after the work was sent in for publication, commented that he had not seen Pytor so happy in a long time. So while the symphony was written just prior to Tchaikovsky's death and the final movement is very sombre, he was really setting the stage for future composers to change the face of the symphony and he not had such an untimely death, the symphony could have been the start of new, breaking ground compositions for Tchaikovsky.

Brisbane Symphony Orchestra in concert
The Brisbane Symphony Orchestra in Concert

The program is being presented at 3pm on Sunday 20th May in Brisbane's City Hall. Tickets are available by visiting the 4mbs Website, at a cost of $55 for Balcony Seats and $45 for Stalls. Children's seats for both seating areas are $20 under 18 with a paying adult. Students can get tickets for $20 at the door on production of their Student ID Card.
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Why? Explore your emotions through some of Western music's finest composers.
When: 3pm
Phone: 3847 1717
Where: Brisbane City Hall
Cost: $55 for Balcony Seats and $45 for Stalls. Children's seats for both seating areas are $20 under 18 with a paying adult. Students can get tickets for $20 at the door on production of their Student ID Card.
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