A cross section of musicians and audience supporting a wonderful cause
One of the things often overlooked in musical circles is the need for a middle ground. A thriving musical community ideally would result in a town band, orchestra or choir, perhaps all three in every substantial town in Australia. Paying a ticket price that is perhaps 20 -30% of what you’d expect to pay in the larger and more established concert halls with more famous groups, it is nice to know that one is supporting music making for dedicated individuals who donate most of the door takings to a worthy cause, the Children’s Hospital in this case. While the musical results are variable there is much to commend in going to hear accomplished amateur groups. I noted also that the audience included many young children. The family atmosphere also lent itself to the older members of the audience who subscribe to the whole series and therefore know each other. The interval was very social and chatty with some of the orchestra turning out to chat with the audience. The orchestra also had a good cross section of young to less young.
The programme was a challenging one with three works; The Arensky Variations on a theme by Tchaikovsky, opus 35a, the Tchaikovsky variations on a rococo theme, opus 33 for cello and orchestra and after the interval the Beethoven seventh symphony, opus 92. The substantial programme notes were generally pretty good and informative. We had a brief analysis of each section of the concert from a musical point of view.
The Arensky Variations is a beautiful work and well chosen as an opener for this programme
The Arensky Variations are for strings only and are thus a good test for achieving a solid string sound across each section. I would have liked a few more violas as there were only four. Despite that they often achieved a beautiful unified sound. The double basses also delivered reliable ensemble and sound. The cello lead was excellent. This is a beautiful work and well chosen as an opener for this programme and there were many beautiful moments.
Tchaikovsky: Variations on a Rococo Theme
Zoe Knighton is a member of the Flinders Quartet and as a result is well known throughout Australia. From the opening of the second piece it was a joy to hear such a solid rich sound from her ’cello. Knighton played the many delightfully lyrical sections with a warm rich sound and sublime phrasing. The work also makes many great technical demands which Knighton carried off with ease. The whole work was played from memory and delivered with great authority. The orchestra played some of the wind sections with great delicacy in particular in the third variation with flute and clarinet accompanying the solo cello’s lyrical line.
Beethoven: Symphony No. 7 in A major is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser
The final work after the interval provided the audience with a familiar piece in the repertory of standard works for orchestra. Well known and loved by classical music lovers, this piece is guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser. Oboist, Nicola Popplewell, a highlight in this work and throughout the whole evening, was extremely reliable and displayed an excellent sense of timing and ensemble. Her solo lines were played with a warm tone and in ensemble wind sections her blend was always excellent. The timpani also had an excellent sense of timing in the third movement which is a scherzo and goes at a crackling pace.
This concert was enjoyable with a well-chosen programme and performed in a pleasant venue. The inclusion of Zoe Knighton to play solo in the Rococo variations brought a real touch of professionalism to this concert. A wonderful family atmosphere and child friendly. I commend this group’s subscription series to people in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
The Melbourne Sinfonia: with Zoe Knighton | 11 September 2015 | MLC: James Tatoulis Auditorium