Concert Review: The Musician Project/ Wagner And Bruckner

Max McBride
Max McBride

The Musician Project,

 Verbrugghen Hall, Sydney Conservatorium of Music

30 September 2017

Written by Ria Andriani

The Musician Project is one of the newest and most innovative orchestras in town. Its young players are filled with exuberance and creativity, and its artistic team has several bright ideas up its sleeves: creative programming, imaginative notes, pay what you think and after concert drinks – just to name a few.

Last Saturday’s concert of music by Wagner and Brucker brought together two of the most influential composers of the 19th Century, who happened to be personal drinking friends as well – according to the notes. Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll conducted by Luke Spicer, made a glorious opening with a balanced sound, bringing out the lovely lines of the horn. The whole orchestra played with a sure touch and confidence which can be heard in their dramatic dynamic contrast and complex texture.

The piece meandered between instruments like a stream of thought with diverse tone colours and dramatic gestures. One could imagine the strings as being the running internal thought, with the woodwind and brass playing distinct ideas superimposed on this thread. The horn has a very prominent role in both works and rose to the challenge with relish.

The orchestra’s force as an ensemble came to the fore in Bruckner’s Symphony No. 3. For this occasion, conductor Max McBride chose the rarely-performed first version from 1873. The Musician Project aptly did justice to the piece.

The most interesting thing about Bruckner’s composition is how the instrument groups move in blocks – the composer was an organist and quite likely used this instrument to aid his composition. The symphony used extensive contrapuntal writing, intermixed with delicate solo lines.

There were several outstanding moments by individual players, though the writing was perhaps overly heavy at times especially in the later movements. I can well understand why the symphony was revised so many times subsequently. However, the orchestra’s rendition of the finale did deserve high praise and high price for their efforts and enthusiasm.

The programme notes were helpful and imaginative in helping the audience get through Bruckner’s lengthy masterpiece with “some Fantasia-style imagery.”

This was a popular concert, attracting a healthy audience of mixed ages, engaging with the music and enjoying a relaxing Saturday evening.

Ria Andriani for SoundsLikeSydney©

Ria Andriani graduated with Bachelor of Music/ Bachelor of Arts from UNSW in 2015. She now sings as a soprano with various choirs in Sydney, and presents recitals in collaboration with other musicians. Follow Ria on



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