Southern Cross Soloists | Sunset Soiree 5 & 2024 Season Launch
November 18, 2023, Judith Wright Centre, Fortitude Valley, QLD
Southern Cross Soloists held their final sunset soiree for the year on Saturday afternoon in the Judith Wright centre.
Featuring Nick Mooney on French horn, Courtenay Cleary on violin, and Daniel Le and Allie Wang piano, this concert was an enjoyable program of nostalgic and contemplative chamber music.
Before the concert began, SXS took the opportunity to officially launch their 2024 season. SXS patron Dame Quentin Bryce said a few words, then SXS artistic director Tania Frazer told us more about what’s in store for the ensemble next year.
In 2024, SXS will present three mainstage concerts at QPAC, the 21st iteration of their Bangalow Chamber Music Festival, and their popular Sunset Soiree series. The theme for the year is exploring romance through passionate and sublime chamber music.
SXS will also premiere many new works in 2024 as part of their Didgeridoo Commissioning Project, including works by acclaimed composers Lachlan Skipworth, Stephen Leek, and Sean O’Boyle AM. This project is continuing until 2032, to create a substantial body of didgeridoo works in time for the Brisbane Olympics.
Another exciting project for 2024 is SXS’ collaboration with Queensland Ballet for their Bespoke season. Together, they will present a new work by choreographer Katina Olsen from July to August at the Thomas Dixon Centre.
On Saturday, we heard music by Tchaikovsky, Debussy, and Brahms, in an intimate and relaxed setting. Guests could sip their wine and listen to the music, whilst enjoying the sunset behind the city buildings.
First, we heard Tchaikovsky’s Melodia and Nocturne, featuring Nick, Courtenay, and Daniel. Written while Tchaikovsky was on a holiday, these pieces were inspired by memories of ‘a dear place.’ The romantic melody passed back and forth between the violin and the French horn in a conversation.
Then, Courtenay took the stage for Debussy’s Violin Sonata in G minor, accompanied by Daniel. Through its three movements, this piece had many shifting colours, from turbulence and darkness to nostalgia and joy. Written at the end of Debussy’s life, in a time of war, sickness, and hardship, this piece was a way of wrestling his emotions and finding peace.
To close, Nick, Courtenay, and Allie performed Brahms’ Horn Trio in E flat major. Originally written to commemorate the death of Brahms’ mother, this piece explored the stages of mourning. It moved from a slow, sombre mood, to a more contemplative feeling, before finishing in a hopeful finale.
After the concert, there was the chance to mingle with artists and guests and enjoy nibblies and drinks. It was the perfect way to unwind on a Saturday afternoon and celebrate all that the ensemble has achieved in 2023.
View the Southern Cross Soloists 2024 season at a glance >>