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Concert Reviews - 19 May 2018 - Northern Lights

Sylvester Kroyherr - Published in Bohemian Rhapsody Club online Newsletter

REVIEW OF CONCERT BY THE ZELMAN SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA – Northern Lights

Given at: Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre, XAVIER COLLEGE, Barkers Road, Kew on 19/5/2018.
Conductor: Rick Prakhoff
Soloist: Svetlana Bogosavljevic (Cello).

The programme began with Finlandia by Sibelius. Dynamically sparkling with great energy, the conductor infused added vitality to the tone poem right from the start. The dramatic crescendos and effervescent themes were well delivered by the orchestra, transitioning to the patriotic main theme, handled beautifully by the woodwind section. Although a relatively short piece of about eight minutes, the culmination and ending was delivered decisively and with great power.

Before the start of the Karelia Suite by Sibelius, Rick gave a short talk about the similarities in the approach to composing by Sibelius and Tchaikovsky in utilizing wind and brass and cleverly achieving a dynamic blend with the strings. The piece comprising of three movements began with some captivating trills from the strings moving to the horns, depicting agitation and a marching rhythm that was well controlled, leading to a subtle ending. With the mournful second movement, the smooth cor anglais and bassoons led the strings, highlighting a calm richness, fading gently and complimented by some ‘finger licking’ pizzicato from the cellos and double bases. The finale was playful and exciting, showcasing the strings, flute and piccolo with a unified ending.

Expectations were high as Svetlana took up her position with her seemingly skinny cello to deliver Variations on a Rococo Theme by Tchaikovsky. Comprising of six variations, the sweet sound of the orchestra gave an immediate appeal, while the rich full bodied sound of the cello blended beautifully with the development of the melodious themes. The audience was treated to some brilliant runs and slides by Svetlana while engaged in an expressive cadenza – prolifically expressive and bathed in soulful tonality and unquestionable finesse. Moving to the final variation, the technically challenging passages were a breeze for Svetlana, while the orchestra blended skilfully to give us an exciting and well received ending to a very likable and endearing work by Tchaikovsky.

Following the interval, the powerful Symphony No.4 in F minor by Tchaikovsky took to the stage with Rick looking even more enthusiastic and energetic! Commencing with the “fate” fanfare, the brass and woodwind sections combined well with the strings to construct intensity and potent vigour. To herald the slow second movement, the sweet oboe preceded the pizzicato by the strings to be further embellished by the violas and cellos, developing themes of masterly tuneful melodies as expected from Pyotr Ilyich – the master composer! The treats kept coming, as the orchestra stepped into another gear with some accurate and meticulous pizzicato from the strings, featuring well grounded interplay with the flutes and horns. With some energetic conducting, the orchestra raised the bar for the final movement with an explosive beginning, but, achieving gentle contrast with the main theme in its colourful motifs, then building into an intense and powerful ending, ably handled by the orchestra. The appreciation of the audience was unquestionable. Congratulations to the energetic Rick Prakhoff, Svetlana Bogosavljevic and the Zelman Symphony Orchestra, as we look forward to future events in 2018. A most enjoyable, exciting and enriching concert – well done everyone, including all the volunteers!

SYLVESTER KROYHERR (Bohemian Rhapsody Club)
24 May 2018

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