Concert review: OMM turns 5

Concert review: OMM turns 5

For its fifth anniversary concert, the Orchestra of the Music Makers turned to the two towering figures of 19th-century and Romantic music - Richard Wagner and Ludwig van Beethoven.

Having cut its teeth on Mahler symphonies and the film scores of John Williams, Wagner's orchestral music seemed par for the course.

Yet there were many complexities and subtleties behind this eminently listenable music which the orchestra had to contend with. Despite these, the youngsters not only overcame but excelled.

Has the opening to the Prelude to Act One of Tristan And Isolde sounded so refined and homogeneous from the cellos and strings in general? With the winds and brass raring to go as well, the result was each group trying to better the other.

The feverish heights were whipped up to great effect by music director Chan Tze Law, whose masterly control from the podium was admirable.

The lack of resolution at the end of the Prelude was deliberate, but German soprano Felicitas Fuchs' steely control and sheer presence (in a blood red dress, no less) brought the opera's final aria Liebestod (Love And Death) to a new heightened level of ecstasy.

Wagner worshipped the music of Beethoven, not for the formalities but his passion and impetuousness of expression. This was to be found, quite unusually, in Beethoven's Fourth Piano Concerto.

The difference was pianist Melvyn Tan, who eschewed prettifying the music for its own sake. Seated a long distance from the piano, his long spidery arms delivered a performance that was more emphatic than congenial.

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