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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | January 18, 2021

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QSO REVIEW: Why You Should Watch A Symphony Orchestra Solo

QSO REVIEW: Why You Should Watch A Symphony Orchestra Solo
Imogen Sloss

The idea of “solo dates” is not a new one. To me, asking for a table for one is less lonely and more introspective. Going to see a movie or a gig by yourself allows for a greater immersion in the art.

It seems so much more intimidating, however, to get dressed up and go to see the Queensland Symphony Orchestra by yourself. Or at least, that’s what I thought until last Saturday. Although I was given two tickets to see QSO’s performance Faure Requiem, my date fell through on the day. Instead of rushing around last minute to try and find someone who was free come with me, I decided to go by myself. Let me tell you, it was so much more wonderful than I expected.

QSO performed four pieces that showcased a difference sides of the orchestra and their accompanying choir.

Funeral Song took full advantage of the incredible dynamics of the orchestra, with the soft, gentle notes swelling then subsiding. The music is often spectral and gives the sense of walking through a graveyard or a haunted location. The most interesting feature of this early work by Igor Stravinsky is that the score was lost shortly after it was written, and only resurrected in 2015, to be performed for the second ever time at the end of 2016.

Benjamin Britten’s work Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes was next, and I loved how it highlighted so many of the unique instruments in the orchestra, like the xylophone and the harp. The four movements, Dawn, Sunday Morning, Moonlight and Storm are representative of the distinct states of the ocean.The third piece, Cloudburst, is a more contemporary work by renowned composer Eric Whitacre. It emanates the cloudburst phenomenon, which is a short, intense storm. The chorus not only harmonised in perfect synchronicity, they also used bells, snapped their fingers and clapped their hands to create the “storm.” It was an exquisite effect.

Finally, we saw Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, piece with seven movements that celebrates life. It is much less sombre than expected. This is because Fauré had played at many funerals himself and was tired of how morose they were. The most striking aspect of the performance was the use of the spectacular organ, as well as the incredible vocals of the soloists.

Sitting in the audience, we were all experiencing the amazing craftsmanship of the musicians on the stage before us. So while I was there by myself, I was certainly not alone.

If you would like to read the program in more detail, you can find it here.

Image credit: Peter Wallis