Archive for November, 2014

Review of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra’s concert ‘Haydn’s Vienna’ at the Federation Concert Hall, Hobart on the 1st of November 2014

November 2, 2014

The TSO (Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra) gave a splendid concert in the Federation Concert Hall, Hobart, on Saturday 1st November 2014. Works included Mozart’s ‘Symphony no. 36, ‘Linz’’, Schnittke’s ‘Moz-Art à la Haydn’ and Haydn’s ‘Harmoniemesse’ – it was indeed, as advertised, a reflection of Haydn’s Vienna.
The opening bars of the symphony by Mozart immediately made apparent that this was no ordinary orchestra. These instrumentalists under the baton of Johannes Fritz brought the music alive. The first movement featured delightfully controlled beauty and assured expression that captured the lightness and delicacy of Mozart’s style perfectly. Contrasting joyful declamations and sensitive sharing of melodic material between the sections were symptomatic of the orchestra’s approach.
Of the movements, the first, third and fourth were particularly impressive and there were moments of exquisite finesse in the joyful Presto when, in spite of the rapid speed required, there were wonderful episodes of rhythmic and melodic cohesiveness within the texture.
Schnittke’s ‘Moz-Art à la Haydn’ was definitely an intriguing contrast. We were often lulled into a false sense of security, hearing typical Haydn/Mozart like phrases with lovely harmonic thirds but these soon disintegrated into more modern discords. The string players certainly knew their stuff, for they were required to play the opening bars in complete darkness. The two solo violinists were superb and played their cheeky role to the nth degree, changing places, literally at appropriate times. Strains of Mozart- like melodies were explored, the hall erupting into laughter when the opening of Mozart’s 40th Symphony sounded. At the end of this fascinating piece, Haydn’s Farewell Symphony was an obvious inspiration as the instrumentalists, one by one walked off the stage until only a few were left in complete darkness while playing the last few bars of the composition.
After interval, the TSO Chorus and soloists joined the full orchestra for a wonderful performance of the ‘Harmoniemesse’ by Haydn. The tonal quality of the chorus was excellent and the soloists splendid. The soloists included Siobhan Stagg (soprano), Sally-Anne Russell (Mezzo-soprano), Henry Choo (tenor) and Andrew Collis (bass). Together with the orchestra and chorus, they brought the music alive. This performance was undoubtedly first class, bringing excitement and interest to the lines. The joyful involvement of the performers and the precise, yet meaningful expression brought freshness and vitality to the century’s old music. There was nothing ‘old’ about the performance tonight.
For more information contact The Tasmania Symphony Orchestra