by John Pollak, 7 November, Sydney Arts Guide
This Concert was at the Sydney Recital Hall last Thursday at 7.30 pm. For those who have not been there it is quite an unusual venue. Whereas the Opera House sits grandly on Bennelong Point at night its shells like grand ghost sails rising out of the dark, the Hall is tucked away, almost hidden in the bowels of the city.
But while the acoustics of the Opera House are somewhat indifferent the acoustics here are superb and plush regal purple seating and wood panelling make this a delightful concert setting.
Now to the Concert.
There were four items. The first by Haydn, the other three by Mozart.
Le Matin, “the morning” by Haydn is the first of two others: Le Midi (noon) and Le Soir (evening). It was lively performance centred in part on a number of flute vignettes beautifully played by Erik Lamb. Then followed the Clarinet Concerto played at times somewhat breathlessly by Paul Meyer, but nevertheless an exuberant rendering of this the most wonderful of melodic concertos, written by Mozart in the final year of his life.
Then the Bassoon Concerto, the highlight of the evening, its soloist Ben Hoadley beautifully capturing the sonorous, lugubrious tones of this too often forgotten instrument.
And finally a purely orchestral piece…Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony. This is the piece which opens with the most haunting, lilting of themes. It was conducted by Paul Meyer purely by hand, sans baton which is somewhat unusual, given that many great conductors use the stick to add precision and incision to their directorial commands. It was played with a fine attention to detail, the final movement executed with near perfection.
The Omega Ensemble itself is steadily maturing and growing in numbers every year. The Ensemble has just released its first CD, and while some of the playing is somewhat too well thought out and intellectualised for my liking (especially the Mozart), it is well worth buying. The CD features major works by two Australian Composers: Ian Munro and George Palmer.
It Takes Two – Concerto For Two Clarinets by Palmer is a beauty. Its final movement, full of wit and humour, is destined to become an Australian Classic. Vibrant and rhythmically quite dynamic, it is to me a comment on the vicissitudes of marital life – it’s irritations, joys and contentments.
The soaring interplay between the two virtuoso clarinetists Dimitri Ashkenazy (son of Vladimir) and David Rowden, the founder of the Ensemble, make it a must hear.
The Omega Ensemble’s concert THREE PARTS MOZART, conductor Paul Meyer, took place at the City Recital Hall, Angel Place on Thursday 3rd November at 7.30 pm.