Monday, May 28, 2012

Accomplished performance by orchestra, choir

The Dunedin Youth Orchestra and City of Dunedin Choir with conductor David Burchell gave a concert on Saturday evening, in a very well-filled Knox Church.

Dunedin Youth Orchestra and City of Dunedin Choir
Knox Church
Saturday, May 26

A youth orchestra it may be, with the youngest member still a 12-year-old, but Burchell drew the best from these musicians (apart from a few bars of wayward brass) and there was certainly nothing timid about their rousing overture, Rossini's The Thieving Magpie.
Melodic prominence of the well-known themes taken at a cracking pace, compelled the listener to sing along in their musical conscience throughout.

The orchestra's principal clarinet, Nicole Batchelar, soloed for two movements of Mozart's Concerto for Clarinet K622 with fluency, generally good resonance and impressive full-toned ornamentation.The more lyrical Adagio was well interpreted.

Karelia Suite (Sibelius) opened with a rather ponderous Intermezzo but the Ballade captured the beauty of melody with suitable passion and nuance, and the final Alla Marcia produced plenty of contrasts and attitude.

The 80-voice choir joined the orchestra after the interval. Schicksalslied (Song of Destiny) by Brahms opens in sombre mood, traversing beautiful passages of harmony and meaningful text, culminating in a final stanza of life and vibrancy.

An accomplished performance came from all, but Germanic diction was appalling resulting in a very beautiful harmonic sound-scape. (I'm sorry, but where were all the consonants?)

The final Polovetsian Dances (Borodin) was bright, forward moving and most enjoyable. Special mention must go to excellent woodwind passages, strong dynamics and good choral intonation, but again it took some time to discern the origin of the language being sung.

During the evening Alex Campbell-Hunt was awarded the Audrey Reid Composition Prize for 2012.

(Review by Elizabeth Bouman, Otago Daily Times, Monday 28 May 2012.)

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