Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Paddington Town Hall; Sunday, March 6, 3pm. You'll be just waking up.

Orchestra Romantique, brainchild of Nick Byrne (second trombone Sydney Symphony and Ophicleide serious dude) and Nicholas Carter (Sydney Symphony associate conductor), is the new Sydney orchestra made up mainly of Sydney Symphony players with a focus on the romantic repertoire. While obviously targeting all music lovers, it is especially conscious of people who for one reason or another don't necessarily make it to the big venues with bigger ticket prices. But the intimacy (Paddington Town Hall, 600 seats), the prices (adults $25, concessions $15, family $65), and the starting time (Sunday 3pm) aren't the only reasons you should be going.

How's this for programming:

Carl Maria von Weber - 'Oberon' Overture (1826 - it was said to have killed him, aged 40).

Jules Demersseman (1833-1866) - Introduction and Polonaise for Ophicleide and Orchestra.

Hector Berlioz - Symphonie Fantastique (the 1830 version, with period brass and percussion, prepare to riot).

Never heard of Monsieur Demersseman the virtuoso French blower who died at 33? Never heard the ophicleide?? Then better not miss this challenging work on this amazing instrument with a reputation for needing more air than a rugby player and not without risk - apart from the untimely death of the two composers, there's this: "... and his uncle who tried to commit suicide by shutting his head in a carpet bag, and his father who played Ophicleide and died insane as they all do..." Virginia Woolf to Vanessa Bell, 1916).

More pictures and stories, as well as all about this pre-tuba brass instrument of sweet highs and gruff lows, can be found on Nick Byrne's fantastic Nick and his Ophicleide website. Be careful Nick.

But wait - there's more. There's Scott Kinmont and his big serpent. Hah. The gang's all here.

I missed their first concert but I'm not missing the second. From what I hear, neither should you. My eldest sister and some of her extended family heard the programme last Sunday in Newcastle, and she reports it was brilliant, with the Novocastrians whooping and foot stamping in appreciation.

Meanwhile, here's the 'Oberon' overture. Imagine, instead of that horn, it just might be the first time you hear "the most lyrical Romantic-era brass instrument you've never heard"


Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should also give public transport directions. I hear parking's a bitch in Paddington.

wanderer said...

You hear correctly. The streets are mostly limited to one hour parking and $86 later I can assure people Sundays are not exempt. Bus, taxi, skate board, feet....but cars are not welcome. I can't even think of the nearest parking station.

M perhaps you might run a little promo on "Stumbling on Melons" for your readers.