Chancellor’s Concert, Sydney Conservatorium of Music Symphony Orchestra,
March 31 2017
Written by Ria Andriani
The fourth in Sydney Conservatorium’s Chancellor’s Concert series, this outstanding performance brought an exciting program which Maestro Eduardo Diazmuñoz had designed as an homage to women in music as composers, performers and as muses. Aptly enough it was performed in honour of Belinda Hutchinson AM, Chancellor of the University of Sydney.
The concert opened with the world premiere of Professor Anne Boyd AM’s orchestral piece, Olive Pink’s Garden. The work was inspired by Olive Muriel Pink, an artist and scientist who made a garden out of the desert landscape of Alice Springs. It was rich in its use of orchestral tropes which evoked this magical place. The connection to the land was conveyed through the presence of constant ostinato which contrasted with the pentatonic melody played by the harp, strings and marimba. In its simplicity, it painted the dramatic yet arid landscape in which the garden is set, as well as the many birds and animals who have made it their home. As I listened to the music, I could well conjure up visions of the sunrise, sunset and rain in this wonderful desert garden.
Gordon Jacob’s Flute Concerto No 1 featured Breeanna Moore, the winner of the 2016 Sydney Conservatorium of Music Woodwind Concerto Competition. It called for a smaller ensemble made up mostly of strings. The work is quite conservative in its compositional technique, showcasing Breeanna Moore’s virtuosity as a flautist, and the string section’s capacity as accompanists. Throughout the four-movement work the flute was never lost in the rich texture of the strings, yet when the occasion demanded, they answered her as equal partners.
The program’s most ambitious item was Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, performed after the interval. It was no mean feat for the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Orchestra, considering how much preparation each and every performer must make. It is famous for inciting a riot during its premiere in 1913 because of its daring and primitive subject matter. The Rite of Spring tells the story of a pagan girl who dances herself to death in honour of the coming spring. Although I felt the underlying narrative was lacking, as a performance challenge the members of SCMO rose to it magnificently. Many of these musicians will now go on to perform this work as part of their standard repertoire. My biggest kudos goes to bassoonist Jordy Meulenbroeks and the percussion section who truly brought this work to life in the final movement.
Ria Andriani graduated with Bachelor of Music/ Bachelor of Arts from UNSW in 2015. She now sings as a soprano with various choirs in Sydney, and presents recitals in collaboration with other musicians. Follow Ria on www.facebook.com/RiaAndrianiSoprano