Thursday, August 31, 2006

Symphony amongst the sandstone

Last night my brother and I went to see The University of Sydney Symphony Orchestra perform a "space" themed concert at The Great Hall at the Uni. They played the fanfare from Also sprach Zarathustra by Strauss, followed by a composition by an Australian composer whose name I can't remember now (so sorry! It was very good!), and then after the intermission was Mars, Venus, Uranus and Jupiter from Holst's The Planets.

It was a great evening. My brother picked me up from work (and Dan took the kids home) and we had a leisurely, child-free dinner before wandering over to the Main Quadrangle to see the concert. The music was great. The violin soloist for the Australian piece was incredible. The thing that struck me most about the members of the orchestra was their age, including the soloist. They all looked so young! I really felt my age. The orchestra is a student club, self funded and run by students trying to complete their degrees at the same. How do they have the time, I wonder?

I really enjoyed watching the musicians play their instruments. I wish I could play the violin - was almost inspired to take it up. I did learn the viola for a year in high school, but it was a mistake. The instrument was just too big for me - I couldn't even hold it with my chin. But I was attracted to its portability (since I learned piano for years and years) and deeper sound (than a violin). The highlight, though, was watching the conductor. This one was quite energetic and bounced up and down and waved his arms everywhere. Cool. My brother was taken with the percussionists up the back. The pieces chosen all used a fair amount of percussion... he loved watching them run around and beat those drums!

At the end of the concert, they performed an arrangement of The Church's "Under the Milky Way", in keeping with the theme. I was looking forward to it very much but unfortunately was a little disappointed - it just had a little too much "high school band" sound to it and I reckon could have been done in a much more interesting way. But then, I couldn't have done anything half as good so I shouldn't complain!

Yay for a bit of culture.

No comments: