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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 29, 2021

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QSO Favourites: Beethoven to Bolero

QSO Favourites: Beethoven to Bolero
Claire Matthews

QSO Favourites last Saturday was an evening of entertaining and sublime music, featuring the orchestra’s favourite pieces from Beethoven to Bolero.

Conducted by Dane Lam, the concert had a dynamic and varied program and was the perfect way to open their 2021 season.

The concert began with Mozart’s Overture from The Marriage of Figaro, a sprightly and dramatic short piece. The work has contrasting slower movements, before the tempo speeds up to a triumphant ending.

Next was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A, mvt 2: Allegretto. This piece starts with a sombre, repetitive tune in the solo cellos that becomes a steadying motif throughout. Gradually, the piece builds with violas, violins, then brass and woodwind joining in the motif. The piece has sudden drastic changes in volume, before closing as quietly as it begins.

Then, was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.5 in E Minor, mvt 3: Valse: Allegro moderato. This piece opens with lulling, warm strings, then the brass take the melody. The tempo builds with fluttering strings and woodwind, before returning to the earlier theme. The waltz feel carries the listener away, dreaming of dancing in a field of flowers.

To wake everybody up, next was Gershwin’s An American in Paris. This piece portrays the impression of an American visitor walking the buzzing streets and cafes of Paris in the 1920s. So, the opening is upbeat and jazzy, even using klaxon horns to mimic Paris taxis. Then, there’s a rich bluesy middle section with a strong rhythmic undercurrent, where the American is feeling homesick. The blues rises to a sweeping climax before the earlier vibrant and energetic sound returns. The piece closes with a distinctive Charleston dance.

Then, was Dvorak’s Symphony No.9 in E Minor (From the New World), mvt2: Largo, full of deep yearning. This piece opens with a solo cor anglais melody, accompanied by gentle strings, evoking a sense of longing for distant shores. It then breaks into a festive spirit and a brassy climax. The piece then returns to the cor anglais melody, this time with lush strings.

To close, QSO performed Ravel’s Boléro, an enthralling Spanish dance. The whole piece is one long crescendo, so the tension builds and builds as the audience waits in anticipation. It starts with a simple drum rhythm, which becomes the backbone of the piece. The winding melody shifts from flute to clarinet to bassoon to oboe to trumpet to saxophone to piccolo, horn and celesta, building and changing colour all the time.

QSO received raining applause and standing ovations from the appreciative audience. So, they sat back down and pulled out a surprise extra piece. QSO Favourites was a great way to round off the weekend, in the concert hall with sublime music.

Coming Up
Arabian Nights
Features music by Ravel & Rimsky-Korsakov
Fri 19 Feb 7:30pm, Sat 20 Feb 3pm & 7:30pm

Musical Landscapes
Features music by Mendelssohn, J. Strauss Jr & Vaughan Williams
Sun 28 Feb 11am

Music from The Incredibles, The Avengers, Captain Marvel and more
Sat 24 Apr 3pm & 7:30pm