The Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) rounded out its Maestro series for 2018 with Beethoven’s Heroic Symphony on Thursday 25 October. Featuring special guest soloist Edicson Ruis on the double bass, the performance heroed an instrument so often consigned to keeping time.

Musical Director Alondra de la Parra was on the conductor’s platform, her skill and mastery of the orchestra evident in her precise movements. A joy to watch, Alondra immerses herself in the music, seeming to guide the orchestra from within rather than from the front. From the first twitch of her baton, clear, crisp notes echoed around QPAC’s concert hall. Opening the performance, the orchestra performed Mozart’s Symphony No. 31 in D major. Animated and vigorous, violins take a leading role in the symphony.

Edicson then joined the orchestra on stage for the world premiere of Oscher’s Double Bass Concerto. Composed specifically for Edicson, the concerto is the result of a long process of developing a language for Edicson’s double bass voice, through which he can express all of his passion as a soloist. Clearly very familiar with the piece, Edison performed without music recalling the piece from memory. The pitch and range accessible to a double bass was explored and challenged, Edicson’s hands reaching down the fingerboard nearly reaching the bridge.

Closing the show was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major. Again, the double bass was the champion, with Edicson joined on stage by the orchestra’s six double bass players, positioned in pride of place and commanding attention. Positioning the basses at the back of the orchestra and in the middle elevated the sound, adding richness and depth. Sandwiching Oscher’s modern composition between the two traditional offerings of Beethoven and Mozart strengthened all three pieces. The different styles and markers of each period were easily comparable and contrasted.

QSO’s Maestro series will return in 2019 with a range of concerts featuring visiting soloists.

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