A few quiet sobs filtered through the auditorium at City Recital Hall during Sydney Brass’s refulgent performance of Giovanni Gabrieli’s Sonata XX à 22. They were soon drowned out by the blaze of brass, however, in what had originally been planned as Richard Gill’s Birthday Bash, but became a moving celebration of the beloved conductor and educator’s life, following his deathon October 28, a week shy of his 77th birthday.

The Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s Associate Principal Trumpet Paul Goodchild led the brass ensemble, arrayed across the Recital Hall stage, in what was to be one of only a few truly elegiac pieces of music on the program. Goodchild, a long-time friend and colleague of Gill’s, was responsible for the brass flash mob that erupted outside the conductor’s house on Saturday to perform the Dam Busters March, but here he paid a more solemn tribute, drawing on his and Gill’s shared love of 16th-century composer Gabrieli.

Celebrating Richard Gill The Australian Romantic & Classical Orchestra quintet. Photo © Nick Gilbert

There were moments of sadness – there were few dry eyes in the house during the Larghettoof Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet, performed by musicians...

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