"Organic", by Christchurch Symphony Orchestra

Published on Wednesday, 3 July 2019, 12:57 p.m. Print Article

Last Saturday, a group of interested Christchurch South Intermediate School students had the opportunity to attend a concert by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. Vincent Aydon has written a review of the evening:

On Saturday the 22nd of June the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra performed a concert featuring the town hall’s unique and incredible pipe organ. The concert, “Organic”, featured mainly classical, some modern, but all orchestral music, other than the piano soloist playing a sonatina just before the half-time break.

The concert was performed at the Christchurch Town Hall, which, as many people know, has recently been repaired following the chaos of the earthquake that caused serious destruction to the venue. One of the key aspects of the hall was the huge pipe organ sitting up against the back wall of the main auditorium, so it was restored, along with the rest, to its former glory.

The first piece performed was named “Sounds of the Sea”. It was the orchestra using their instruments to create sounds incredibly similar to the actual sounds. If you closed your eyes, you would almost feel as if you were sitting by the sea, with the sounds of the waves, the wind, and the seagulls washing in through your ears. Unfortunately, whilst this piece was interesting and aesthetically pleasing, it lacked a followable beat (I couldn’t find it without looking at the conductors hands) and quite obviously no melody. From a musical point of view, this piece didn’t really make sense, so naturally I thought it was interesting, but rather dull.

The second piece performed had a completely different approach. This classical composition featured a Steinway & Sons grand piano (which, by the way, there are only seven of in the country) and the whole orchestra playing in league. This piece was very grand, and definitely a step up from the former.

The second movement of the second piece performed, Rachaninov’s Piano Concerto No.4 featured the piano as the main part, with the orchestra playing very interesting chords in the background. The piece couldn’t quite decide whether it was major or minor, making it a hard listen, but it was relaxing, and slightly jazzy, with the horn section mainly taking over towards the latter part of the piece.

The third movement of the second piece contained more energy than the average solar flare at the beginning, shocking you into a state of attention. It calmed down after a while, tempo and dynamic wise, slowly putting you back to rest. Striking, really.

The fourth movement of the second piece was a piano solo, evidently written from a romantic standpoint. It was emotion-employing, and a very slow, calming, beautiful piece overall.

The second half of the concert was where the organ came into play, with Saint Saens Symphony No.3, “Organ”. When that first chord hit, you really knew it was the organ. It just felt like a truck hit you in the chest, it was so powerful. The rest of the concert was classical orchestral music, featuring the organ in the bass, but unfortunately no organ solo.

The concert was great to listen to, I personally really enjoyed most of it. The next CSO concert, “Peter and the Wolf”, featuring music from the classic story, is being performed on the 9-11th of July, so if you want to experience the concert of a lifetime, book online through the CSO website (https://www.cso.co.nz/) or risk door sales on the day!

Hope to see you there!

Vincent Aydon

CSO Ambassador