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Review - Mozart’s Requiem: short sweet and exquisite

By Nahima Kern

Mozart’s Requiem

Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Presented by The Queensland Symphony Orchestra


South Bank

Although Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart has long since shed his mortal coil, it truly is such a pleasure to still be able to listen to his music, some 200 years later. What is fantastic about hearing the works of composers passed is that it gives a glimpse into their very lives, thoughts, and ambitions.

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra presented a stellar concert over the weekend and it certainly did not disappoint. Featuring Igor Stravinsky’s Symphonies of Wind Instruments, Claude Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, and finally, with the pièce de resistance in Mozart’s Requiem. The concert began with Stravinsky’s modern and experimental offering.

A short movement at twelve minutes, this piece began in a disjointed fashion, and as the wind section of the orchestra began to move as one, the audience was treated to an expertly handled rendition of the piece. It was eerie to see empty chairs on stage with the wind section in the background but Stravinsky’s heart beat vividly through the flutes and the piccolos, the clarinets and the oboes.

The second part of the program in Debussy’s Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune began by enchanting and alluring the audience with a wonderful flute solo performed by skilled flautist, Alison Mitchell. The whole orchestra had joined the wind section for this piece in anticipation of the final act. As the strings and brass accompanied, Debussy’s vivid music began to fill the QPAC concert hall and soon fell away, leaving a delicious imprint in the audience’s mind. Soothing, graceful, and charming, this work was spectacular.

Finally, the Brisbane Chamber Choir settled into the seats at the back of the stage, and the soloists swanned in front of the orchestra to begin the final, highly anticipated Requiem. From the first note to the last, it did not disappoint. Music touches all, regardless of spiritual inclination, and even though this is a typical Christian mass, its piety lay in the splendour of each carefully crafted note, each sequence of phrase, and each wonderful lyric.

This performance of Mozart’s requiem was perfection. There was simply nothing to experience beyond the beauty and grace of this timeless oeuvre. Touched by the sadness that this was the final incomplete work by one of the world’s greatest composers, there was also a gentle hope by the final notes of the Lux Aeterna. Then the concert came to an end. Short but sweet, and utterly, undeniably exquisite.