Monday, August 24, 2015

Review: 'Dreams' by Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra

Dreams by Braddell Heights Symphony Orchestra
Music Director - Adrian Tan

School of the Arts Concert Hall
23rd August 2015, 5pm
Piazzolla - Four Seasons of Buenos Aires
soloist - Gabriel Ng

Low Shao-Ying and Low Shao-Suan - Dreams (premiere)
Dvorak - Symphony 8

A Review by Hawk Liu

The Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Piazzolla was a great choice for the concert as it was romantic and very attractive. The main motives from Vivaldi's Winter and Summer were heard in a few places, as well as hints of Piazzolla's own Adios Nonino. Gabriel Ng brought out the romantic elements quite well. There were a number of pitch problems that unfortunately stood out a little more, just because there were so many glissandi to stand next to notes which had to be pitch perfect. Nevertheless, that didn't spoil my enjoyment of the program.

Gabriel Ng tackled the technicalities quite well, especially in the most virtuosic fourth movement. With a little more flair, Piazzolla would be happy too. The orchestral ensemble was beautifully played, blending well and sounding lush, players decked with red flowers in their hair! After four curtains calls, we were treated to a spirited encore of Paganini's caprice no. 19 by the soloist.

Dreams, a 2-movement short programme, was delightful from start to finish, sounding a little John William-ish in the happy parts of the original Jurassic Park. It was a feel-good fix. Dvorak was the piece that would test the orchestra. The piece was played with authority and confidence throughout. Yes there were intonation problems here and there, especially from the trombone section (sorry, folks). That being said, the orchestra has come a bit of a way to being the much tighter orchestra today. Good job, Adrian. I have to add that the woodwinds did not make a false move in the entire symphony!

After, the symphony, we were given a surprise encore with Dvorak's Romance in F minor, played by concertmaster David Loke. He coaxed full perfect tones from every bow and I enjoyed the piece very much. Dvorak's Symphony 9 next round, please??

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