Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Review Tuesday: 'Symphony under the Stars'

Today’s ‘Review Tuesday’. Symphony under the Stars [1] is a free outdoor concert given each year by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra [2] – in February when the weather’s warm and the gloaming’s late. Actually the TSO schedules two such concerts each year: one in Hobart and one in Launceston. But this year the Hobart one was cancelled due to heavy rain. I attended the Launceston one, in City Park [3] last Friday evening, with Mole Creek friends Haydn and Lyn. After a splendid picnic dinner, I (with the large and good-humoured crowd) readied for the concert. It was compered by ABC radio personality Christopher Lawrence [4]; Sebastian Lang-Lessing [5] conducted the TSO; and soprano Lorina Gore [6] was the soloist. The program comprised 13 listed items (including six orchestral/vocal). It was billed as ‘A tribute to Dame Joan Sutherland’. Compere Christopher said all the music had been Dame Joan’s favourites. My favourites? Glinka’s ‘Russlan and Ludmilla’ overture [7], and Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony’s fourth movement [8]. Only one of the items had an Australian connection – arranged by Percy Grainger [9]. I can’t tell you if the TSO played well, because the acoustics were poor and the crowd noisy. But the music was secondary. The clear aim was crowd enjoyment, probably to attract new patrons to the TSO’s concert programme throughout the year. I reckon that as the crowd packed up in the dark and ventured home, hardly anyone would’ve been disappointed by the experience. I wasn’t.

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