High quality community orchestra
I am so impressed with a community orchestra doing work of this quality. Despite a huge variation of abilities in this orchestra, the concert was played with musicality, enthusiasm and warmth. Clearly the musicians have worked hard for this, but it is in no small part due to Colin Piper, the conductor. He is clearly respected by the orchestra which is always a good sign.
“Kolam” (2014) by Chris Williams, was a musical representation of a “visually drawn prayer” done on the doorstep of some Hindu houses in the mornings and worn away by the evening. Starting from noises made on the instruments, musical organisation gradually emerged and, like the phoenix, returned in the end to dust. It was well played with intensity and focus and was musically convincing.
In the Rachmaninov Symphony No 2, the romantic phrasing was well controlled, the orchestral texture balanced and there was good contrast in the dynamics. Although the KPO is not a large orchestra for romantic works, there were thrilling moments from the brass and percussion in the full sonorous tuttis, beautiful solos from the woodwinds and many surging moments from the strings.
Musicians need more accessible venues
While on the fullness of the sound, this was my first experience of the Ravenswood School Centennial Auditorium and I am impressed; an excellent concert venue, comfortable seating and good acoustics. Unfortunately it appears the orchestra now needs to find another venue due to price and booking pressures. Local councils always seem to set aside plenty of spaces for sports, but alas this orchestra does not even have access to a shared venue for rehearsing and concerts. Considering their skill and dedication, this is very disappointing.
Liquid romantic tone poured from Anna Da Silva Chen’s Violin
Back to the music. The highlight of the concert was the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto played by the young Sydney violinist Anna Da Silva Chen. The liquid romantic tone poured from her instrument as if it was no trouble at all. She has performed extensively since she was 10 and her confidence and musical maturity shone through. The fiendishly difficult rapid passages had youthful exuberance and brilliant tone, and slower passages were richly dark and sonorous. Her masterful control of dynamics, articulation and phrasing were sympathetically supported throughout by the orchestra. The cadenzas were impressive indeed. This was a musical treat in every way.
A new fan
I have suddenly become a fan of the Ku-ring-gai Phil. Make the effort and go to their next show. Watch this space!