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4MBS Festival Opening Concert

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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.
Explore the galaxy in Brisbane's City Hall

Planetary exploration has always been a fascination for humans, and we have explored the far reaches of space by telescope, space craft and more. Our imagination has taken us to distant planets and this has been expressed through literature, art and music.

Planets Hollst concert brisbane
Over 200 musicians take to the stage

Musical exploration is the focus of this year's 4MBS Festival opening concert, with an event of galactic proportions. Combining two of Brisbane's premier community orchestras, the Brisbane Symphony Orchestra and the Brisbane Philharmonic Orchestra, along with the voices of the Brisbane Chorale, the concert will present Holst's famous "Planets" Suite performed by over two hundred musicians.

Bass planets Mars
The bass section lead the way in "Mars - bringer of war"

The driving rhythms of "Mars - the bringer of war", the infectious enthusiasm of "Jupiter - bringer of jollity" and agility of "Mercury - the winged messenger" will be contrasted with the beauty of "Venus- the bringer of peace", the tolling of "Saturn - the bringer of old age" and the dramatic "Uranus - the magician". The suite concludes with the ethereal "Neptune - the mystic" in which the orchestra are joined by an angelic choir of female voices.

Brisbane Chorale Planets
Brisbane Chorale form the choir for the two works

Holst wrote the Planets Suite between 1914 and 1916, with his planetary exploration being astrological in nature, based on the properties of the planets on the human psyche. Originally scored for two pianos, Holst expanded the work to gigantic proportions, adding to the traditional orchestral scoring two harps, two sets of timpani, a bass oboe, contrabassoon, euphonium, six French horns and pipe organ. All of these will be heard in the performance which will take place in Brisbane's City Hall on Sunday 28 May at 3pm.

Shaun Brown baritone
Shaun Brown is the baritone soloist in Walton's epic, "Belshazzar's Feast"

When investigating what to pair with this massive work, organisers looked to another work utilising similar instrumentation which would involve all members of both orchestras. In a stroke of genius, they chose Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast" composed in 1931, this is a dramatic setting of the story of a feast at which Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, commits sacrilege by using the exiled Jews' sacred vessels to praise the heathen gods. Belshazzar is miraculously killed, the kingdom falls, and the Jews regain their freedom. Baritone soloist Shaun Brown from Opera Queensland, double chorus, brass bands and a saxophone are added to the orchestra to present this monumental work.

Peter Luff Conductor
Peter Luff will bring together this massive group to present a terrific concert experience

Bringing together such a large number of musicians is not an easy feat. It requires experience and a sense of humour. Peter Luff's experience as a member and casual conductor of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, as well as his work with community engagement as Assistant Director of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music make him an excellent choice. Peter has lead this group of musicians through the challenges of both works with the assistance of Brisbane Chorale director Emily Cox to present a concert guaranteed to exhilarate audiences.

Tickets are selling fast and are available by visiting the 4MBS Website. Adult tickets are $35, Seniors/Concessions $30, 4MBS Subscribers $30, Full-Time Students, $30, Under 13 (with paying adult) $10.

This will be a once in a lifetime opportunity for music lovers to hear these wonderful works performed by some of Brisbane's best musicians in the beautiful Brisbane City Hall.
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Why? 200 musicians combine to present a once in a lifetime concert.
When: 3pm, Sun 28 May
Phone: 07 3847 1717
Where: Brisbane City Hall
Cost: Adult - $35, Seniors/Concessions - $30, 4MBS Subscribers - $30, Full-Time Student - $30, Under 13 (with paying adult) - $10
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