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Morning Masterworks by Queensland Symphony Orchestra

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
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Queensland Symphony Orchestra presents Morning Masterworks
The Morning Masterworks series by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra is your chance to see some of the great classical composers performed at QPAC on Friday around the middle of the day as well as some additional Saturday afternoon and evening performances.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra

About the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

This year, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra celebrates 75 years. Their program is also diverse with plenty of outreach, performing well-loved classical works through to orchestral versions of popular music. They also travel the state bringing music to regional communities. For parents who want to give their kids a taste of classical music, there are plenty of kids programs, and the Morning Masterworks series is also great for kids who are already into classical music.

About the Morning Masterworks

The need to keep orchestral music fresh and inspiring often means that orchestras neglect some of the best known and loved works. The Morning Masterworks series is a series of 70 to 80-minute performances over the year that focus on one main composer, often adding in additional shorter works by other popular composers to complete the session.

The main featured performance is on Friday starting at 11:30 am, which is technically the morning, but I would say, the middle of the day. This is the most popular time for the performances and is a perfect way to enjoy an afternoon at South Bank and the Cultural Precinct. Maybe visit the art gallery or museum first, have a bit of cake and tea before the performance, then enjoy lunch in South Bank or West End afterwards and see additional cultural attractions at South Bank.

The series also includes Saturday performances, but these will vary. Sometimes it is just an evening performance, or occasionally there will also be a Saturday afternoon performance as well. Both times are great to enjoy culture and food at South Bank before the performance.

The series

Four Seasons on March 18-19, obviously focused on Vivaldi as well as music by Piazzolla.

On May 20 to 21, the Mozart's Requiem concert included worked by Debussy and Stravinsky before the main performance of Mozart's Requiem Mass with the Brisbane Chamber Choir.

Triumphant Tchaikovsky on July 11 to 12 will have triumphant music that includes several pieces by Puccini and Verdi, and Symphony No.4 in F minor by Tchaikovsky.

Fans of piano will enjoy Brahms' Symphony No.3 in F and Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No.2 in C minor on September 9 & 10.

The series ends in October 14 & 15 with music by Beethoven's Concerto in D for Violin and Orchestra and Symphony No.8 in G by Dvořák.

A review of Mozart's Requiem Mass

I was lucky enough to attend Mozart's Requiem Mass. This is his unfinished work, commissioned by Count Franz von Walsegg as a memorial to his beloved recently deceased wife. During the concert, the first 20 minutes were devoted to Stravinsky and Debussy, two other composers, like Mozart, who were known to innovate and redefine classic musical structures for future generations. As Stravinsky's Symphonies of Wind Instruments was written in honour of Debussy, the two works form a theme.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra in action
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra in action

But then Mozart starts, and the Requiem Mass starts big. This is a mass of mourning, and it is not a matter of feeling melancholy, but it perfectly captures that anxiety of real loss. But that is okay, because this is really a love poem, and the concert hall is then filled with the sweet sounds of fond memories, to end again sad, but no longer anxious, knowing for sure God will have lifted the soul of this wonderful person up to heaven.

The talented orchestra combined with the great vocals of the Brisbane Chambers Orchestra give the music the needed power and sweetness. The featured vocalists were also good, especially the tenor (Andrew Goodwin) and bass (Pelham Andrews), but unfortunately the sopranos seemed a little weak on the day.

Brisbane Chamber Choir performing Mozart's Requiem Mass
Brisbane Chamber Choir performing Mozart's Requiem Mass

Overall, like any great classical music concert, I found myself transported beyond the hall to a point I almost forgot where I was. The audience agreed with a strong ovation, with on their feet in appreciation of the experience.

Booking the sweet spot

One of the things that I noticed when I attended was that most people tend to book seats near the aisle, but true lovers of symphony music will be seeking out the sweet spot of the concert fall. Obviously, it is better to sit in the middle unless you want a box seat. The concert hall seating is fairly flat near the stage and begins to rise up. Based on having attended several concerts there, If you are somewhere between H and possibly as far back as 0, there is a sense of the music floating up above you, filling the space and lifting you up into a musical heaven.

When booking your tickets for a concert, you want to try and score the concert hall's sweet spot for the best sound
When booking your tickets for a concert, you want to try and score the concert hall's sweet spot for the best sound


While the audience tends to be older and obviously familiar with the works, these are performances that are suitable for everyone. The programme includes background information on the musicians and the pieces, as well as general information about the orchestra and how it is organised. This is great for younger classical music fans to learn more about the music as it is for anyone who wants to acquire more experience with classical music.

Remember, the Morning Masterworks is a great part of the day at South Bank and the Cultural Precinct. My day included viewing some art, grabbing some quick food before, meeting my friend (who was late as usual), enjoying the performance, and heading out for tea and cake afterwards.

The author attended a performance as a guest of QSO
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*Roy Chambers was invited as a guest
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Why? Some of the great classical composer's works in the morning and afternoon at QPAC
When: Friday 11:30 am, Saturdays 1:30 pm or 7:30 pm
Where: Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)
Cost: Children from $30, students from $49, concessions from $70 and adults from $80
Your Comment
I am so glad that we have at last a wonderful review about the QSO. All the concerts are at the highest of international standards. We need professional commentary and reviews. However, I strongly disagree with the writer's comments about the soloists. The soprano was exquisite in my opinion and so was the tenor. The bass was weak and the low sounds were completely lost. As I never trust completly my emotional state, while listening to such magnificent compositions, for the next few days I listened to many performances on YouTube and my own CD. They all confirmed my opinion that the bass was the weakest link in that performance.
On another topic re Mozart's Requiem - I was very disappointed for not being able to find the name of the Brisbane Chamber Choir's Conductor in the program. The only saving grace was that he appeared on stage at the end of the performance. Thank you, Graeme Morton for beautifully preparing your choir and for their inspirational singing!
by bmwis (score: 1|29) 31 days ago
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