A view from the audience

Poetic Inspirations Concert Dec 10th 2011 University of Sydney Graduate Choir and Orchestra, Sydney Conservatorium. 

My technical grasp of music is pretty tenuous, but I really groove to big sounds. You know, Welsh hymns sung by the locals massed at Cardiff Arms Park during a Rugby Union International, memorable proms at the Royal Albert Hall with Bernstein conducting the New York Philharmonic, big brass bands marching down the main drag, that sort of thing. I love being virtually inside the music, like having fireworks explode right overhead.  My first exciting virtual space experiences were musical, and only later, and anti-climactically, visual.

The experience of being at the “Poetic Inspirations” concert of the University of Sydney Graduate Choir and Orchestra in the Verbrugghen Hall of the Con on December 10th 2011 was just like that. It placed my ears and eyes slapbang in the middle of some extraordinary music and musicians,  and I thoroughly enjoyed being enveloped and sonorously bathed by both choir and orchestra in unison.  “Songs of the Fleet” for baritone, choir and orchestra also plonked us hook, line and sinker into the middle of a sad, angry and rollicking sea with little ceremony.

I especially loved the “Songs of the Heart”, and especially the last one for its whimsy.  It was both serene and pensive, and bold and quirky in different parts.  This was a stunning composition,   by Christopher Bowen commissioned for this occasion.  Governor Marie Bashir, for whom this major work was dedicated by Bowen, seemed to be genuinely touched by the dedication, and moved by both composition and performance.

The entire concert was a night of nautical and natural delights, animated and with precise conducting by Bowen.  It seamlessly combined these choral and orchestral sounds, with tight discipline and highly original and evocative music, in an acoustically responsive space.  I wouldn’t have missed it for quids.

Alan Rosen

5 Feb 2012


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