Brahms Violin Concerto - Review by Stage Whispers

Review ·

Queensland Symphony Orchestra have capped off a stellar 70th birthday year with a stellar concert featuring Hungarian violin virtuoso Barnabás Kelemen.

Kelemen, a last minute replacement for the indisposed Maxim Vengerov, proved he was not only a master of his instrument but also of the concert stage, with an electrifying performance of Brahms Violin Concerto.

A commanding presence coupled with a display of astonishing technique quickly endeared him to the capacity audience. His tonal palette in the adagio was passionately moving, whilst his cadenza was awash with fiery brilliance. He encored with not one but two showy pieces; Bach’s Sarabande and Paganini’s Caprice No. 24. Both received, deservedly, standing ovations. Henri Dutilleux’s 1964 Métaboles, explored musical ideas using sections of the orchestra in a five-movement continuous ‘concerto for orchestra.’ It was a perfect orchestral piece that showcased the woodwinds, strings, brass, and percussion sections and with its Stravinsky and Bernstein influences a popular programming choice.

The concert concluded with a highly-emotive reading of Ravel’s two-suites from his ballet Daphnis et Chloe. The second suite’s Sunrise section hauntingly captured the mood with some exquisite flute work by guest section principal Shu-Torng Lin which was enhanced by the wordless vocals of The Australian Voices.

Sharing the limelight throughout was revered high-priestess of the podium, Alondra de la Parra. Under her assured baton the orchestra responded with a superb evening of flawless musical colour.

Review by Peter Pinne