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Sydney Youth Orchestra: Janáček & Brahms

24 March 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm AEDT


Tickets: Adult $50 | Concession $25 | Child $25

Performers & Programs

The Sydney Youth Orchestra conducted by Alexander Briger AO

  • JANÁČEK Taras Bulba
  • BRAHMS Symphony No. 3

SYO Philharmonic

  • conducted by Brian Buggy OAM
  • VERDI The Force of Destiny Overture

To say that SYO Chief Conductor Alexander Briger has the music of Leoš Janáček in his DNA isn’t too fanciful. Alex’s uncle (and mentor) the late Sir Charles Mackerras did more than anyone else to bring the early twentieth-century Czech master’s operatic masterworks to the rest of the world.

What is something of a family legacy will be on display in the Sydney Youth Orchestra’s 2019 season opening concert, when Janáček’s orchestral rhapsody Taras Bulba floods the Verbrugghen Hall with sound, helped by the venue’s impressive pipe organ.

‘If ever music was a direct reflection of the rhythms and modulations of its composer’s native language, it has to be Janácek’s,’ says Briger. ‘His sound world is unique; his corpus of work a tribute to the benefit of being a late bloomer. Although its premiere took place just before his seventieth birthday in 1924, Taras Bulba is Janáček’s first really significant orchestral piece, something I find amazing. It’ll be poignant to hear music from a career golden summer played by young musicians on the threshold of their own golden careers.’

Not that this sounds at all like an ‘old’ piece. Based on the Gogol tale of a short-lived Cossack dynasty in the sixteenth century, the music blazes with passion as the patriarch’s two sons and then Taras himself all meet a violent demise – in Taras’ case, burned at the stake, the music rising up at the work’s end with bells and blazing organ chords.

The rest of a powerhouse program is almost a declaration of war. The sweep of Brahms’ Third Symphony – deemed by the ruthlessly self-critical composer to be ‘nearly perfect’ – so enraged the fans of Brahms’ supposed enemy Richard Wagner at the work’s premiere in 1883 that members of the opposing factions challenged each other to duels. More duels and revenge stabbings take out most of the main characters in Verdi’s opera The Force of Destiny, whose tumultuous Overture will be played in this concert by the SYO Philharmonic with conductor Brian Buggy.

This is a take-no-prisoners program of big sounds and big emotions: classical music designed to stir the soul and placate no-one. Perfect for a stellar youth orchestra, in other words.



Sydney Conservatorium of Music: Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney
Conservatorium Road
Sydney, NSW 2000 Australia
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