Kings and Queens with Queensland Symphony Orchestra - 4ZZZ

Dr Gemma Regan

Review ·

It became a Royal Gala performance of the QSO’s Kings and Queens on Sunday when our Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II formally opened the concert dressed in a daffodil yellow frock coat with matching hat and handbag. She exclaimed that she was “happy to welcome baby Archie, the new addition to her family, after he had negotiated his own Brexit by leaving his mother Meghan’s womb!” She further commented that “Meghan had wanted to name the newborn Prince, Tupac but Prince Phillip had exclaimed only over his dead body, which was a distinct possibility, as he was out driving his Range Rover…” As Her Majesty shuffled off the stage, the QSO opened with the Entrance of the Queen of Sheba, a majestic piece befitting the Queen, as it had featured in a sequence at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games when James Bond (Daniel Craig) met her Highness at Buckingham Palace. 

The “Queen” returned in civilian attire as the irrepressible Guy Noble, who introduced the audience to the conductor Fabian Russell for his inaugural performance with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Fabian is an award-winning Australian conductor and is the Associate Conductor of the internationally-acclaimed Australian Youth Orchestra. He took his commanding position on the podium to conduct Verdi’s Nambucco Overture. It is known as a pot-pourri overture as it was composed to preview the themes from his Nabucco Opera. It was a bright and lively mixture and highlighted the cimbasso, a large menacing-looking brass instrument from the trombone family which added a lovely mellow sound to the piece. 

The Empress of the Pagodas Suite from Mother Goose by Ravel, featured a giant Tam Tam gong, which along with the glockenspiel, xylophone and some clarinet solos, created a very oriental
sounding piece. It originally accompanied a children’s fairytale about tiny porcelain figurines, named Pagodas which explained the clinking sounds of porcelain throughout the music. 

Jason Redman, the principal trombone player for the QSO, introduced Lehmann’s Concerto for the Trombone. It had been specifically written for him by a previous QSO concertmaster, and originally premiered in Brisbane in 2005. Unfortunately, Wilfred Lehmann, at ninety years old and living in Sydney, was not fit to travel to hear the piece, but I’m sure he would have been proud of Jason’s and the QSO’s flawless execution. 

The brilliant Symphony No.7 is one of Beethoven’s best received works.The famous Allegretto accompanied the iconic speech by King George VI, performed by Colin Firth in The King’s Speech and is slow, majestic and magnificent. Strauss Jr’s Emperor Waltz was spectacular and melodic, yet the Waltz was once considered risqué, due to the close proximity when waltzing. The concertmaster Alan Smith quipped that he enjoyed waltzing, especially with the host, Guy Noble! 

The Imperial March composed by Elgar, a loyal and proud Englishman, was written to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897, and concluded the Kings and Queens concert with a majestic aplomb. Despite originally having to be re-fashioned to suit the requests of his publisher Novello, it is regal in the extreme, full of pomp and circumstance, befitting Queen Victoria’s 60-year reign.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra with the guest conductor Fabian Russell, were flawless in their performance, and the exuberant host Guy provided a very “Nobel” sense of occasion to their
majestic concert.