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Rite of Spring: Queensland Youth Orchestra - Review

Home > Brisbane > Classical Music | Concerts
by JC (subscribe)
I have a had a life-long love of the arts; enjoying theatre, ballet, art and movies. We are all time poor and have limits to our entertainment budget so I hope an honest review will help make your choices easier.
An evening to delight and inspire
This past Saturday night, the Queensland Youth Orchestra (QYO) performed the final Queensland Youth Symphony (QYS) Masterpiece Series Concert at QPAC. Conducted by John Curro Am MBE, the concert titled Rite Of Spring delivered an evening filled with discovery and celebration of both music and young talent.

The QYS was established by John Curro in 1966. It is now a world-class orchestra with 95 members aged from 12 to 25. The orchestra specialises in large scale orchestral works from the late 19th century through to present day. A specialty that was aptly demonstrated with Saturday's program featuring a world premiere of Moray Street (composed by Alexander Voltz), Brahms Double Concerto and Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.

Alexander Voltz, Queensland Youth Orchestra, Moray Street
Alexandra Voltz composer of Moray Street

Alexander Voltz graduated from Brisbane Boys' College in 2016 and isn't wasting any time making a name for himself as a talented composer. Moray Street was inspired by a book of poems titled Home Made Poems (by Carmel Curro). A dedication to Carmel and her family, Moray Street explores the beauty of family life both during sorrow and celebration. This was a lovely performance and an absolute credit to both Alexander and the QYO. A delightful partnership between the string and wind ensembles created an emotion packed journey filled with joy, harmony and drama. While flute and harp injected a magical overlay, that made me think of the dreams and secrets that quietly simmer behind our day to day family life.

The Double Concerto, premiered in 1887, was the last work Brahms ever wrote for orchestra. This concerto for violin, cello and orchestra, was credited with repairing Brahms' fractured friendship with Hungarian violinist Joseph Joachim. Saturday's performance featured soloists Kristain Winther (violin) and Dan Curro ( Cello). In Act 1, the cello solo shone. Dan Curro delivered an energetic and passionate performance backed ably by the QYO. By Act 2 my attention was drawn to violinist, Kristain Winther. He appeared totally lost in the music; as his enjoyment of the piece appeared to grow so did mine. Heralded by horn and woodwind, this movement, was like a lullaby, delicate and delicious. The concerto ended with a playful and dynamic rondo, in which violin, cello and orchestra became true partners; each shinning but always supporting the others.

The evening ended with my favourite performance, Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring. This was my favourite concert of the evening. The Rite of Spring is Stravinsky's most well known and controversial composition—a jarring and unconventional work. The QYO were at their best in this performance, the energy was electric and didn't abate for one moment. The opening promised drama with a hauntingly complex bassoon solo, joined by the woodwind, strings and then brass. The tension in this composition is delicious, QYO performed it with an intensity that allowed the violent sub-story to truly live. While the repetitive melodies held the piece together, taking the audience on a journey through pagan rituals to celebrate the earth which culminate in the "Sacrificial Dance".

With a mandate to train and develop young musicians, the QYO is worthy of our support. However, I personally think that watching new talent blossom and listening to a quality performance is the only incentive I need. Next for QYO:

Concerts at Twilight, featuring different QYO Ensembles, will be playing at the Qld Queensland Concert Hall from Saturday August 28 to Sunday September 16. This series offers classical musical performances at a family friendly price: $6 /person or $18/per family.

String Sensations , playing Sunday September 23, features the finalists of the 43rd National Youth Concerto Competition. Tickets priced between $12 and $29.
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When: Saturday 20 August 2011 7pm
Where: QPAC Concert Hall
Cost: Between $6 and $29
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