Sunday, December 1, 2013

LANXESS- SNYO Classic - 'Musical Inspirations' in Review

My friend and Basso Canaries colleague Andrew Xiao Chun-yuan attended the recent SNYO concert on 26 November 2013. Here are his thoughts:

The Singapore National Youth Orchestra did another spectacular concert under the Laxness SNYO Classic concert again.

This time round, it showcased Carl Maria Von Webber's operatic overture from Oberon, Carl Philipp Stamata's Viola Concerto and Johannes Brahms's Symphony No 1 in c minor. The conductor is guest conductor David Commanday from America and guest soloist Max Mandel from Canada.

The name Oberon, also spelled as Auberon is actually the King of Fairies. His origin dates back as far as the medieval era and he is made famous under the pen of William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night's Dream. In this SNYO concert, the orchestra gave a commanding performance. In the Weber's operatic overture, the orchestra gave out wonderful colours and texture of the work especially the beautiful sound of the French horn when the music started.

The viola as a concerto instrument is rarely heard and the instrument started to gain its seat in the orchestra during the 18th century. Compared to the violin which is higher pitched and smaller in size and which has a brighter tone, it is no wonder the violin has more composers writing concertos for. Nevertheless, one can be awed by the viola too if you get the right person to play it. The guest soloist Max Mandel did an excellent job, showing what the viola really can do. The work consistts of three movements, the first in major key, the second in minor key and the last back to major key. In this work, the most interesting part came from the third movement where Max giving a cheeky note in his cadenza.

After the interval, came Brahms's Symphony No 1 in c minor. Regarding the story behind this great symphonic work, Brahms took a very long time to compose this symphony as he personally thought Beethoven as his idol in terms of symphonic work and he feared if he wrote one, it may become a failure or be compared with the great Beethoven himself.

Of my favourite symphonic works, this Brahms's Symphony No 1 is one of my favourites. On the note of how the orchestra fared, I must say the orchestra did a wonderful job especially the leader, Kow Xiu-Yi who played the principal violin solo in the last movement.

In short, it is two thumbs up for me and I must say that the SNYO lived up to the evening's premise of inspiring people through music.

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