Melbourne Chamber Orchestra: Rhapsodic Bohemians

At all times modern and passionate with its annual applications, the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra’s alluring program title prompt works to heat our wintry Victorian nights. Rhapsodic music expressing highly effective emotion, enthusiasm and extravagance   mixed with a Bohemian freedom of musical construction, standard guidelines and practices, proven tonight within the works of Czech composers Antonin Dvorak and Jindrich Feld, appeared a most tasty providing. Since 1990, MCO has been a Key companion on the MRC, boasts a distinguished core of excellent Melbourne string gamers, and is an ensemble admired for its modern and distinctive applications.

In her welcoming tackle Visitor Director and 1st violinist Alexandra Osborne warmly thanked the viewers for braving the outside components to share ongoing help and dedication to reside music, as artists are nonetheless dealing with large Covid challenges.

From his unique set of six items From the Bohemian Forest Op 68, composedas a piano duet in 1883, Dvorak organized the 5th most enchanting sketch, Silent Woods, for cello and orchestra in 1894. Australian composer Jessica Wells organized tonight’s MCO’s rating for string orchestra, with Elina Faskhi taking centre-stage because the soloist for this stunning and evocative piece. Adagio, lento e molto cantabile begins with a brooding pianissimo cello solo with a protracted superbly formed descending, languorous melodic phrase over sustained violas and lightweight pizzicato bass accompaniment. Fashki is an authoritative and passionate soloist, who drew us right into a brooding, stirring and dreamy environment along with her expressive sound. Sadly, this system notes didn’t embrace an outline of Faskhi’s stellar worldwide profession thus far as she is making an enormous contribution to latest performances of cello masterpieces and up to date music. It might be fantastic to listen to her carry out this hardly ever carried out work with Dvorak’s unique, extra spacious texture and instrumentation with woodwind and brass.

Prudence Davis was welcomed to the stage as soloist for Feld’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra. Written in 1954, this intensely dramatic three motion work required further devices, with piano, harp, timpani and percussion reinforcements including pleasure to the manufacturing, and challenges little doubt for this enlarged ensemble with no central conductor. It’s vital that the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra commissioned Australian composer Ian Munro to put in writing and dedicate his Flute Concerto to Davis, so her complete mastery and execution of one other difficult up to date work was to be anticipated. A wildly dramatic introduction introduced us forceful, sharp strokes from piano and percussion, the flute following with free improvisatory cadenza-like phrases, all rising in momentum as steady whirling phrases took us on an thrilling journey. Color and lyricism got here with flute and harp pairings, however the string energy and dramatic surges of excessive tone was relentless. Extremely stirring was the threatening and war-like 2nd motion Largo, the place steady timpani blows evoked heavy marching pulse beats, worry and foreboding. The ultimate motion highlighted Davis’ virtuosic technical skill and musical communication. Unison celli and double basses added highly effective depth to the rating, and this difficult piece continued a journey of rising and falling waves of drama and rigidity till Davis led the ensemble to a heroic shut, with excited scurrying trills and high-pitched brightness.

After interval, the MCO introduced us once more to the feisty sound of a string orchestra persevering with its Bohemian journey, remodeling Dvorak’s Quintet No 2 in G main Op 77 right into a extra dense and luxurious texture. This ensemble produced a really heat and sturdy sound, with tempos being fastidiously modest till constructing steadily and relentlessly to extra highly effective closing bars. Largely, there was cautious consideration to taking part in out the dialogue of themes between various devices, additionally being true to Dvorak’s attribute duality of lyricism and drama in accented full of life dance sections. Higher strings produced a robust, broad tone within the higher register, typically sweeping to the heights of the highest string with a lot muscle and dominance. Within the 3rd motion (Poco Andante) it was pleasing to listen to calmer, sweeter excessive strings permitting cello and viola melodies to shine. A broader dynamic palette and a sense of serenity and calm was most welcome within the softer tones of this motion.

An Allegro Assai last motion was full of strong power, spirit and ahead drive, technical unity and a higher number of timbres and textures as pleasure constructed steadily to the ultimate notes. The MCO right here produced a big symphonic string sound, modern, maybe Bohemian too, remodeling Dvorak’s unique rating for Quintet into a brand new expertise. Whereas audiences do love “familiarity” at instances, it is going to be fascinating to see how new preparations of works of the key celebrated composers by way of historical past are taken into audiences’ hearts.

Picture provided.


Julie McErlain reviewed “Rhapsodic Bohemians” carried out by the Melbourne Chamber Orchestra on the Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor on June 16, 2022.