Conservatorium High School farewells its class of 2011

Portrait of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart by Barbara Krafft

Mozart’s celestial Requiem in D Minor, K. 626 is a work that every musician, professional or amateur should perform at least once in his life, not just because of the status it enjoys in Mozart’s oeuvre but for the sheer thrill of the musical experience.  The Conservatorium High’s music students will have this opportunity in their September valedictory concerts. As the inaugural Conductor-in-Residence at the Conservatorium High School, Carolyn Watson has already farewelled the 2011 Year 12 orchestral musicians and is well under way building up the ensemble for the 2012 academic year. She has chosen Mozart’s Requiem for many reasons.

 “I thought it would be a good work to do with a younger, less experienced orchestra. It’s more familiar and accessible at sight than, say, some of the 20th-century repertoire that we performed earlier this year. Moreover, it’s a good chance for the students to both settle in and step up, as it were in leadership terms….challenging enough without being overly stressful,” she says.

 “Also, it’s a great introduction to all things Classical in terms of style and phrasing….far more subtle and difficult of course than I think they realise! I believe that whenever possible it’s always good to try to do whole works. This, of course, is not always practicable in a high school context but when it can be done it gives students a concept of the work as a whole – a gesamtkunstwerk* approach. So often, due to practical and time constraints, young musicians will study and perform only a movement or two of a larger work.  Sometimes, they don’t have a knowledge of the rest of the work – its structure, the number of movements and how they relate to one another, for example”.

 She recalls an amusing rehearsal to underscore this observation: “As we were reading the last movement of a symphony for the first time, one excited second violinist exclaimed ‘Oh, this piece! I know it, I’ve played it before, it’s really cool’. He hadn’t connected the title of the symphony we were playing and the ‘really cool’ piece he had played previously”. 

Carolyn Watson will be conducting the Conservatorium High School Choir and Symphony Orchestra with soloists Jenny Liu, Bridget Patterson, Joel Scott and Alexander Knight.

 Admission is free for both concerts.

 Check out this link for some of the intrigue surrounding Mozart’s Requiem:

 Gesamtkunstwerk: a work of art in its entirety

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