Thursday, December 13, 2018


Dale Barltrop, Violin
Leonard Weiss, Conductor
Llewellyn Hall 8 December

Reviewed by Len Power

Canberra Youth Orchestra’s final concert for the year featured two major works – Benjamin Britten’s Violin Concerto and Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

Conducted by Leonard Weiss, the orchestra included several professional local musicians for this concert.  Violin soloist, Dale Barltrop, was born in Brisbane and is now Concertmaster of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and First Violinist of the Australian String Quartet.

The program commenced with Britten’s Violin Concerto with Barltrop as soloist.  First premiered in 1940, Britten’s concerto is a brooding, emotive work that evokes the looming presence of World War Two.  It’s powerful and menacing, creating an uneasy atmosphere and requires strongly expressive and incisive playing.

Dale Barltrop

Barltrop gave a superb performance.  It was full of passion and great beauty, bringing out the many colours and moods of the work.  The orchestra under Leonard Weiss excelled with their playing as well, creating a rich, clear sound that gave the work the edge it requires.

After interval, Dale Barltrop joined the orchestra as Concertmaster for the performance of Scheherazade.  Considered Rimsky-Korsakov’s most popular work, it was composed in 1888 and was inspired by the Arabian Nights tales.  It’s a rich, colourful symphonic suite which evokes a mystical oriental atmosphere as it presents several tales by the Sultan’s wife, Scheherazade.

Dale Barltrop (violin), Leonard Weiss (conductor) and the Canberra Youth Orchestra

The orchestra gave a fine performance of this much-loved work.  Dale Barltrop played the melodic solo violin passages depicting Scheherazade with great warmth and feeling.  The final movement was especially well-played.

As Barltrop left the stage at the end of the concert, the orchestra made it very clear that they had enjoyed playing with him.  The audience also showed their warm appreciation for an evening of well-played fine music.

Photos by Peter Hislop

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition of 9 December 2018.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast in his ‘On Stage’ performing arts radio program on Mondays and Wednesdays from 3.30pm on Artsound FM 92.7.