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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | June 13, 2021

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QSO's Firebird Concert Ignites Vibrant Storytelling

QSO’s Firebird Concert Ignites Vibrant Storytelling
Claire Matthews

Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Firebird concert Friday March 19, presented a morning of instrumental splendour and fiery storytelling.

The concert featured music by Weber, Mozart and Stravinsky. The heart of the concert was The Firebird, the enthralling ballet music which told the story of a prince and an enchanted bird.

There were some last minute changes to the lineup. Pianist Piers Lane and conductor Elena Schwarz were both unable to travel due to COVID reasons, so Simon Tedeschi and Umberto Clerici stepped in.

The concert opened with the overture from Carl Maria Von Weber’s opera Der Freischütz. The story began in a dark forest, with the French horn melody depicting hunters. The ominous timpani represented the untrustworthy character tempting them with magic bullets. The sound changed as different characters wove in and out, giving the audience a taste of the opera. The work modulated between major and minor keys, so representing the struggle of good vs evil.

Then a glossy grand piano was rolled onto stage, for Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 19 in F. Simon Tedeschi appeared in a red jacket and black bow tie. The piano concerto demanded great skill and virtuosity from both the solo pianist and the accompanying orchestra. Simon played sprightly, his fingers flying up and down the keyboard. So, he certainly seemed to be enjoying himself.

The highlight of the morning was Igor Stravinsky’s The Firebird suite. The whole orchestra reassembled for this passionate and fiery suite. Umberto introduced the piece and its story with much humour. The work opened with quiet, rumbling double bass and cello, evoking the prince stepping into the enchanted forest. The woodwinds introduced the fluttering melody of the firebird. Then, there was lush, romantic strings as the prince saw the dancing princesses. The music wound itself into a frenzy, so with clashing percussion and bursts of brass as the monsters were unleashed. Then there was sudden calm and gentleness with firebird’s lullaby. The grand finale began with majestic French horn and so they all lived happily ever after.

QSO’s Firebird was the perfect way to unwind on a rainy Friday morning. The evocative music and rich storytelling carried the audience away. There was much applause and cheering, especially from all the kids on school excursions to the orchestra.

It was a great pleasure to be a watching live concert, so almost a year after Queensland’s first COVID lockdown. So, here’s to QSO and the rest of what they have in store for 2021.

Coming Up

Pictures at an Exhibition

Music by Rimsky-Korsakov, Kerry, and Mussorgsky

Fri & Sat 30 April- 1 May, QPAC. More info.


Shakespearean Classics

Music by Beethoven, Prokofiev, Mendelssohn

Sun 9 May, QPAC. More info.


Musical Theatre Gala

Music from Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Frozen, Marvel and more

Sat 15 May, QPAC. More info.