Jupiter Rising: Queensland’s Camerata take the QPAC Concert Hall

QPAC Camerata presents Mozart's Jupiter
Images: Alex Jamieson

For musicians across Australia, 2022 launched on the tail end of a two-year rollercoaster ride. Mass concert cancellations. Stop-go performances. Pitiful income support from our federal leaders when chaos replaced certainty in entertainment spaces. The cause of all this needs no further publicity.

Enter Camerata

Camerata’s final mainstage production ended this year on firmly reclaimed ground. They chose arguably the brightest light in the classical canon—Mozart—and paired two of his later works.

They opened with his Sinfonia concertante in E flat for violin, viola and orchestra, K.364. Artistic Director Brendan Joyce describes the piece as “a perfect, sublime conversation between solo violin and viola, and orchestra.”

The form was immensely popular at the time it was written (1778), used by instrumentalists to show off their skills within noted orchestras who were refining their programs for public concerts.

Camerata were clearly in the mood to perform. This musical conversation was led by the two soloists—violin and viola—who revelled in their roles. They led the performance through its exuberant and majestic opening, then lulled the audience into a false sense of calm through the gentle middle.

The finale let them showcase their virtuosity as the mood darkened and the strings suffused the piece with deep emotion and a note of melancholy.

However, the sheer song-like quality of this final movement shone through, with many unexpected flourishes and a quickening speed that raced every performer to the end.

Mystery reveal?

Joyce thanked the audience for their continued support and introduced his ‘musical sorbet’. He noted you can’t place two pieces by the master side-by-side without having an auditory palate cleanse.

His choice? Well, they were a mystery performer, and this review will be published before Camerata’s final performance in Toowoomba. The voice was young, and powerful, with so much potential. The genre was gospel. Anything further puts us in spoiler territory.

Jupiter Ascends

The only mystery around their second piece, the Symphony No.41 in C, K.551 “Jupiter”, was whether it would eclipse the concertante. It’s no surprise that this piece was performed (1791) just as it was becoming fashionable to nickname popular works that were destined to become masterpieces.

“Jupiter” dominated the air, and Joyce possibly chose it because in his mind, listeners find it hard to separate Mozart from his operatic achievements.

‘This concert is something of a Song without Words – an opera without singers, a stage without theatrical trappings. That’s something I love about concerts, that built-in simplicity and minimalism leaving much to the imagination of a listener.

‘The Jupiter Symphony, with its range of scenic moods, singing style of the slow movement and direct quotation of an aria called “A Kiss on the Hand” that Mozart contributed to someone else’s opera, make it impossible to put away the “opera glasses” in hearing this music.

Camerata – Queensland’s Chamber Orchestra is performing Mozart’s Jupiter at Empire Theatres, Toowoomba on Saturday, 26 November 2022. Tickets here.

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Andrew Blythe

Andrew Blythe is an writer and editor who has a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of Queensland. In addition, he is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Griffith University within the School of Human Services and Social Work, assisting the school with both curriculum review and lived-experience research development. He enjoys communication in all its forms and has prepared and presented material via print—including as the former editor of Time and Place (the magazine of the Queensland Heritage Council) and consultant editor of QNews Magazine—as well as radio, television, and multimedia formats. He has written a memoir about his father’s experience of receiving a heart transplant, as well as documenting other peoples’ experiences of the Queensland health system.

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