Review / Birthday treat from young players

music Canberra Youth Orchestra Celebrating Larry Sitsky’s 80th Birthday Llewellyn Hall, October 31 Review by Clinton White

One needs look no further than the Canberra Youth Orchestra to observe the depth of Canberra’s talented musical future.

Birthday boy...Larry Sitsky.

Birthday boy…Larry Sitsky.

In a program of complex and challenging works conducted by the energetic and affable Rowan Harvey Martin, the CYO, augmented by Bowral’s Highly Strung Orchestra and professional Canberra musicians, played with mature assuredness.

Guest ensemble, the ANU Chamber Orchestra, opened the concert with “Binsfield’s Demons”, conducted by its young composer, Chloë J Hobbs.  The seven sections coupled the demons and deadly sins in a not-so-structured work; more a collection of experimental sounds and music concepts.  Hobbs started timidly but gained confidence as this intriguing and well-played work progressed.

Nigel Westlake’s familiar “Antarctica Suite for Guitar and Orchestra” featured third year student Ciaran Edwards-McKeown.  His expressive and sensitive playing showed why his teacher, Timothy Kain, is so respected internationally.

After interval, Rowan’s brother, pianist Michael Kieran Harvey, played Sitsky’s “Dimensions of Night” (excerpt).  It is a dazzling piece and Harvey is a fine player but his style is bombastic, even when he played “Happy Birthday” for Sitsky just before.

The final work saw Rowan back with the large orchestra for Sitsky’s “Concerto for Orchestra”.  Based on the unfinished final piece in JS Bach’s series, “The Art of Fugue”, the long work is in 12 sections.  The highly polished and convincing performance was a fitting conclusion to this celebratory concert, drawing a sustained ovation.



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