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Review - Epic Sounds: a soaring and magnificent concert

By Nahima Kern



Epic Sounds

Presented by the Queensland Symphony Orchestra

Concert Hall

Queensland Performing Arts centre

South Bank

Brisbane

Seen : June 26,2021


The concert of Epic Sounds presented extraordinary moments for all who were in attendance.

The selected program for this Queensland Symphony Orchestra concert was unique and special, to say the least. It began with a Welcome to Country by Tommy Coghill. Didgeridoo virtuoso, William Barton (image by Keith Saunders) was in attendance to perform his world premiere of Apii Thatini Mu Murtu (To Sing and Carry a Coolamon on Country Together).

This was the first piece of the program and from the very first notes, Barton and the QSO held the attention of an audience sitting with bated breath. With the unique and beautiful mix of orchestra and didgeridoo, there were no real words to describe the magnificence the audience was witnessing.

From the haunting sounds of this traditional musical instrument to the swelling and diminishing of the orchestra behind, to the technical flawlessness of Barton this piece had it all. At the closing final notes, Barton began to sing a haunting sound that resonated with purpose.

The orchestra even joined in with the singing and the power grew. As the final note sounded, the audience gave a resounding applause, with some even giving an early standing ovation. The rest of the concert followed and flowed with ease, as the audience was well and truly warmed up.

The second piece, the Overture of Verdi’s La Forza del Destino, was in honour of retiring harpist, Jill Atkinson who selected this work as a swan song of sorts. Coming to the end of an era – one that lasted forty-seven years – Atkinson gave a parting speech with humour and grace.

The final piece of the concert was one of the conductor’s Benjamin Northey’s favourite of Jean Sibelius’ symphonies. A symphony rarely performed or thought of when considering the best work of Sibelius, the Symphony no. 5 in E Flat brought a fitting conclusion to a soaring, and magnificent concert, heavy with themes of heady beauty and the joy of performing music together.

The theme of this Sibelius symphony was particularly pleasing and brought to the concert nothing but sheer power from the French horns.

The audience left the QPAC Concert Hall with all the chattering and cheer one finds when exiting a really good performance, or one that resonated with a special feeling. It was definitely a joy to be sitting in the Concert Hall again, after all that has happened in the past year and a half.