Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra

I was fortunate to catch the Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra with their new music director Adrian Tan. Also on the line-up were the Singers Vocal Ensemble performing the Singapore premiere of local composer Chen Zhangyi's award-winning piece Ariadne's Love, and pianist Albert Lin performing Mozart's Piano Concerto no.21.

While the orchestra played accompanists to their guests throughout the first half, they took back the spotlight in the second half in Rimsky Korsakov's Scheherazade, a tone poem describing a story set in the exotic Arabia, where the concubine Scheherazade tells the Sultan Shahriar one fairy-tale after another in order to delay and avoid execution. While intonation got a little scrappy at times, the orchestra played with rich colours and enthusiastic fervour, successfully bringing out the exotic Russian and faux-Arabian folk influences of the score.

Special kudos should go to oboist Makiko Kawamata, flautist Mohamad Rasull Bin Khelid and cellist Lim Juan for their sweet-toned solos. In his inaugural concert as the orchestra's new music director, Adrian led with authority, clear direction and showmanship. It will be interesting to see how this young conductor will take this well-established orchestra into further artistic triumphs.

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