With a winning mixture of marvellous music and audience interaction, junior reviewer Eddy Greentree delights in the sounds of Nature’s Symphony with WASO.
Nature’s Symphony, West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Perth Concert Hall, 17 June 2023
Reviewed by Eddy Greentree, age 11
Played by WASO musicians and aimed at young children, Nature’s Symphony features lots of famous orchestral music about common backyard creatures like birds and insects, as well as plants. Presenter Thea Rossen describes each piece before it is played, and encourages the audience to listen for certain things.
Perth Concert Hall is almost full with lots of small children and their parents or grandparents. All the musicians are dressed up in clothes to do with nature. My favourite is the pig, who is playing the French horn. Some of the costumes have been handmade for the concert, including the ones for Rossen and the conductor, Jen Winley.
There are several different cameras around the hall, and a big screen at the back of the stage which shows different views of the stage, helping us get a closer look at the orchestra. Unfortunately, the projection on the big screen was slightly out of time with the audio of the music and presenters, which is a bit strange and off-putting.
The musical pieces range from baroque to modern, with some very famous and others not as famous. Rossen gets the audience involved in Wanjoo (a Noongar song by Gina Williams) and teaches everyone the lyrics to sing along. In several of the songs they had different sections of the audience making different insect and bird sounds. The children really enjoy the interactive parts and join in enthusiastically.
All the pieces are very short and not the full movements, which is suitable for the young children in the audience and prevents anyone getting bored. I especially enjoy Vivaldi’s Spring from The Four Seasons and Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee because they are both well-known pieces, but it is so much better to hear them live and played so beautifully by the orchestra.
To finish the concert, handfuls of flower-shaped confetti drop from the ceiling, prompting most of the children to run to the front to try to catch some. This is a really great way to end the show, with all the kids excited and happy.
Though it was most suitable for children aged three to seven, I enjoyed Nature’s Symphony a lot.
Pictured top: Thea Rossen leads children through a fantastical musical journey for ‘Nature’s Symphony’. Photo: Daniel James Grant
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