Thursday, December 15, 2016


Conducted by Leonard Weiss
Soloists: Donica Tran (violin) and Lily Bryant (flute)
Llewellyn Hall December 4

Reviewed by Len Power 4 December 2016

The final Icons concert by the Canberra Youth Orchestra (CYO) focussed on Brahms and his Symphony No. 1.  The program also included works by Chaminade, Sibelius and Mendelssohn.  Conducted by Leonard Weiss with soloists from the CYO, Lily Bryant and Donica Tran, it was an evening of fine music well played by all concerned.

Lily Bryant and Leonard Weiss

The program commenced with a charming work by Cecile Chaminade, her Flute Concertino in D major, Op. 107.  Chaminade was one of the few prominent and respected female composers of her time.  On flute, CYO Soloist, Lily Bryant performed the work expertly and with great feeling.  It was nice to see her appearing so relaxed while playing that she was able to share a smile with the conductor as the work progressed.

Lily Bryant

Next, the orchestra played “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius in an arrangement by Steven Verheist for the Brass of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.  This dramatic work is given even more strength in this arrangement and the brass members of the orchestra gave a spectacularly clear performance.

Donica Tran
Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor, Op. 64 is a very well-known work which is always a delight to hear with its lyrical melodies and dramatic contrasts.  Solo violinist, Donica Tran, gave a strong performance, technically well-played, if a little quiet against the orchestra at the beginning.

Donica Tran, Leonard Weiss and the Canberra Youth Orchestra

The final presentation, Brahm’s Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68, was heralded as “Beethoven’s 10th” when first heard and the influence of Beethoven is clearly heard in the work.  The orchestra played it very well, especially the quiet second movement which is a nice contrast to the bold first movement.  The final movement and its joyful finale had an excitement in its emotional playing that was very satisfying.

Photos by Peter Hislop

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition on 5 December 2016.  Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Artcetera’ program from 9.00am on Saturdays and on other selected Artsound programs.