A ‘requiem’ may sound rather melancholy – but fear not! Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) guests are treated to a rich mix of instrumental and vocal fireworks, topped off with a three-tiered music cake. A true theatrical treasure to cater for any taste!
The show is a great reminder of why a live classical music performance always tops a recording. And it is not just about the music. Orchestras are fascinating to watch! Who is in? Who is out? What instruments evoke what image? How does the conductor manage to control all the instruments with his mighty baton? If you allow it, this living organism can submerge you into a world of sound that is unique and unrepeatable – like any live performance.
As Igor Stravinsky’s soulful Russian melodies open the evening, the listener is invited to leave all worries of world behind and breathe in music. Benjamin Britten’s colourful Four Sea Interludes grabs the listeners’ attention straight away with a perfectly balanced unison of violins and flutes – a testament to the skills of the QSO musicians! And Eric Whitacre’s Cloudburst transforms the stage into contemporary vocal acrobatics backed by piano, thundery percussion and even the bodies of the singers themselves.
Even if your knowledge of classical music is not extensive, do not let that deter you. Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem by QSO reminds us of what exactly makes a live performance so special. As the orchestra plays on the stage paired with the velvety honey tones of Teddy Tahu Rhudes, The Australian Voices fill the space from an elevated balcony. An organist underneath the imposing pipes shows off the diversity of this piece and highlights the awe of this composition. Finally, soprano Morgan England-Jones is the sweetest cherry to top this classical arrangement, with her crisp, angelic voice making sure that every person in the audience forgets to breathe for a moment!
The choral subtlety of Fauré’s Requiem is known to be its strength over the more triumphant compositions by Verdi, Brahms and Berlioz. This subtlety allows the listener to appreciate the different layers of this unique composition – a task made simpler by the theatricality of the staging.
Shall we try another night with QSO? Absolutely!