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TSO Concert 2023: A Night of Musical Brilliance and Impromptu Artistry

by Madonna

The Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra (TSO) captivated its audience in the penultimate concert of 2023, treating them to an enchanting evening of musical excellence and impromptu artistry.

The concert opened with two of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces, Op. 68 No. 4, “Evening in the Mountains,” and No. 5, “At the Cradle.” These charming pieces set the stage for an evening filled with musical enchantment. TSO Principal Oboe Sarah Young graced the audience with a lovely solo in the first piece, adding a touch of elegance to the performance.

The spotlight then shifted to TSO Associate Concertmaster Ji Won Kim, who undertook the headlining performance of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64. Stepping in for the original soloist Grace Clifford, Kim delivered a stunningly successful concerto debut with the orchestra. Her rendition was a beautifully conceived and well-shaped interpretation of the masterpiece, marked by strength, pure tones, and expressiveness. The orchestra, conductor, and soloist were harmoniously united, with a particularly tender and poignant slow movement and a light, sparkling finale that showcased Mendelssohn’s mastery in his ‘fairy music’ mode. A delightful encore from J. S. Bach’s Sonata No. 3 in C added an extra layer of musical delight to the evening.

The program also featured a substantial new work titled “Centrifuge” by Sydney-based composer Holly Harrison. Inspired by the sounds of demolition, the piece unfolded in three movements over 20 minutes, showcasing Harrison’s signature energy, arresting orchestral textures, and structural clarity. The TSO performed the composition with conviction and enthusiasm, with the composer herself present to receive well-deserved applause.

Conductor Eivind Aadland, renowned for his affinity with the music of fellow Norwegian Edvard Grieg, directed the orchestra through Grieg’s Norwegian Dances, Op. 35. Originally piano duets later orchestrated by Hans Sitt, these dances displayed consistency in their attractiveness and variation. The TSO’s disciplined and sympathetic playing, under Aadland’s guidance, illuminated the familiarity and freshness of Grieg’s melodies.

As the penultimate concert of the season unfolded with brilliance, the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra once again affirmed its status as a beacon of musical excellence, leaving the audience eagerly anticipating the grand finale with Handel’s Messiah on December 9, 2023.

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