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Concert Reviews - 1 September 2018 - From the Old World to the New

Natasha Lukin - Published in Bohemian Rhapsody Club online Newsletter


Given at: Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre, XAVIER COLLEGE, Barkers Road, Kew on 1/9/2018.
Conductor: Rick Prakhoff
Soloist: Thomas Hutchinson (Oboe).

Lovers of music and friends of Zelman Symphony Orchestra spent an enchanting evening at the Eldon Hogan Performing Arts Centre at Xavier College.

The concert held on the 1st September both, started and concluded, with romantic music of Antonín Dvořák. He was the second Czech Romantic composer, after Smetana, to achieve worldwide recognition and success. Dvořák's music was melodic and contemporary to his time, but he frequently employed specific rhythms, reminding of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia.

The evening opened with a different piece from Dvořák, because that music was written and dedicated to his time spent in the US and to his impressions of that country. Understandably, his five-movement “American Suite” in A Major was imbued with a distinct American flavour.

The concert was conducted by Rick Prakhoff, an Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Zelman Symphony. To watch his elegant and smooth hand movements where Rick actually did not even need his conductor’s wand, was a show in itself. It seemed the conductor was so much in agreement with Dvořák’s melodies that it felt like Rick Prakhoff himself became a part of that music.

For the contrast, Dvořák was followed by the American composer Samuel Barber. His most popular work was “Adagio for Strings”, composed in 1936 that was beautifully performed by Zelman Symphony Orcestra.

Then young but already highly acclaimed oboist Thomas Hutchinson played with the Orchestra the last Barber’s composition “Canzonetta for Oboe and Strings”. When Barber was composing this piece he already new his diagnosis and was aware of its prognosis. It felt like the composer put his heart and soul in that piece. The melody alternates constantly between diatonic and chromatic states throughout. The piece concluded with a burst of heartfelt lyricism from the soloist Thomas Hutchinson. That was the Barber’s farewell to the world.

Another Czech composer Martinů was represented with his “Oboe Concerto”. For the most part his music was positive and joyful. However, when the soloist entered, the music became more melancholic and gentle.

The following piece, composed by Chris Pickering, was called “The Straightened Arrow”. Recently based in the US, Chris now finds himself based in Melbourne, at Melbourne Conservatorium, where he is writing and scoring music in the contemporary classic medium.

The last piece for the evening brought us back to Dvořák. The Orchestra played his “Symphony No. 8”, composed in 1889 when Dvořák and his family moved to live in the Czech countryside. That was where his most famous works were created.

Upcoming Concert by Zelman Symphony will be held on the 1st December, at the Camberwell Grammar School PAC. The program is promising to be an exiting conclusion of the 2018. It includes Haydn, Richard Strauss and Brahms – how could anyone wish for more?

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Page last modified on September 16, 2018, at 10:09 AM