Arts Review

The Lost Thing - An Orchestral Adventure

The Queensland Symphony Orchestra Presents The Lost Thing- An Orchestral Adventure

Concert Hall, QPAC

10th June 2023


Kats-Chernin Dance of the Paper Umbrellas

Coleridge-Taylor Othello Suite, Op.79

Brahms Hungarian Dances No.5

Rimsky-Korsakov Flight of the Bumblebee from Tale of the Tsar Saltan

Rissmann The Lost Thing

Williams Star Wars Suite for Orchestra


Conductor Jen Winley 

Presenter Paul Rissmann

Choir Voices of Birralee

Choir conductors Jenny Moon, Peter Ingram and Paul Holley OAM


A fantastical fun family-friendly frolic with the QSO


Dr Gemma Regan


A very excited audience piled into the QPAC for a special family-friendly Saturday morning concert introducing the wee ones to the magical world of orchestral music. The retailer Simply Strings had a String Garden stand with opportunities for budding musicians to try out the violin, viola, cello or double bass. Copies of the book, The Lost Thing by Shawn Tan featured in the concert, were available for purchase. The QSO also had a stand of pamphlets for upcoming concerts, a free illustrated poster by James Gulliver Hancock of the orchestra showing where the musicians sit in instrumental sections and details of the instruments and even much coveted free Queensland Symphony Orchestra pencils! 


The Lost Thing is a much-loved children's book by Australian steam-punk-styled illustrator and author Shaun Tan, about a boy who discovers a strange forgotten creature on the beach and tries to find who lost it and where it belongs.


Scottish composer Paul Rissmann has created a magical musical score to enhance the narrative of this beloved story bringing it to life with the QSO and an immense choir with the Voices of Birralee, live on stage. 


Rissman was a fabulous host introducing the audience to each group of musicians who had helpfully worn a rainbow of coloured t-shirts to signify their sections. The strings were in various hues of blues, the woodwinds in greens and the brass in reds, oranges and yellows. The spectrum of colours was very effective in denoting each group of musicians, if looking like a Wiggles convention!


A giant screen suspended over the orchestra showed the intricate book illustrations as Rissman narrated the tale, accompanied by his sparkling array of music from waltzes to jazz played by the QSO musicians. The audience also participated in two songs, singing along to Don’t Panic, a James Bond-styled theme and finishing crooning The Lost Thing. The three choirs of Birralee: the Voices, the Singers and the Resonance of Birralee were immensely effective at helping create the magical atmosphere with the help of conductors Jenny Moon, Peter Ingram & Paul Holley OAM. 


Jen Winley was the special and very popular Guest Conductor, judging by the whoops from the audience. She used her Potter-like wand to show how she keeps the excited musicians of the QSO under control with ‘bad and good' baton waving. Alexandra Osbourne was the Guest Concertmaster for the QSO, demonstrating how the orchestra tunes to A before a performance with the help of the violin.


The importance of a conductor in creating the dynamics of a musical movement was demonstrated in the crazy Hungarian Dance No.5 by Brahms, accompanied by pictures of a fox and a cat in ear muffs for loud and soft sounds and a hare and snail for tempo. Winley made exaggerated baton movements as the dynamics changed and the young audience was on the edge of their seats as the hare raced and the snail slowed.


The feisty QSO further flounced their talents in the Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov. They set themselves a target of 1 minute and 21 seconds to beat, with a large stopwatch on the screen counting down their frenetic buzzing soundscape. Their buzzing bees smashed the time by four seconds, much to the joy of the audience. 


The all-inclusive interactive concert finished with a firm classical favourite for both children and adults alike with the master of movie scores, John Williams and the strident march of the Star Wars Theme. With many musician Star Wars fans they 


Although the concert was aimed at children, I thoroughly enjoyed it as it was one of their most engaging concerts this year. The QSO are a dynamic and fun-loving asset to classical music displaying a diverse range of talents and skills for an audience of all ages.


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