In its third Maestro concert for 2022, the Queensland Symphony Orchestra presented two relatively unknown works alongside Mozart’s perennially popular Clarinet Concerto. The pieces chosen worked surprisingly well, complementing each other in the overall program due, in part, to the expert guidance and carefully controlled baton of Maestro Johannes Fritzsch, the orchestra’s current Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser, who commanded the evening from the outset.

Melody Eötvös’s short work The Saqqara Birdwas commissioned by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 2016, based around the archaeological discovery of a small wooden bird-shaped relic at Saqqara, Egypt in 1898. Eötvös created a piece around various theories about the origins of the bird, imbuing a joyous energy into the work with a clearly defined beat and repetitive rhythmic melody. Representing the bird, the solo high-pitched piccolo of Kate Lawson was beautifully delivered, ably accompanied by the flute. Additionally, both the strength of the composition for brass and percussion, over shimmering strings that included a well-crafted violin solo, was impressive. Fritzsch kept the orchestra tight helping to create an atmospheric soundscape.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra Section Principal Clarinet Irit Silver.