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Sydney symphony’s smooth and elevating performance

Violinist Andrew Haveron… his opening lines were mournful and beautifully measured. Photo: Nick Bowers

Music / “The Masters of Romance”, Sydney Symphony Orchestra conducted by Roger Benedict. At Llewellyn Hall, June 17. Reviewed by TONY MAGEE.

BEETHOVEN composed the “Coriolan Overture” in 1807 to introduce the play of the same name by Austrian dramatist Heinrich Joseph von Collin.

The orchestra delivered a smooth and elevating sound. Cellos and violas played some demanding phrases well, with nice work from trumpets and french horns, the piece closing with a well executed pizzicato motif played in pianissimo. 

The Bruch Violin Concerto is one of the most beloved in the repertoire. Composed in 1866 and revised in 1867 it is unusual in construction in that the first movement is a prelude to the second, the two being played without break.

Stepping out from first chair, violinist Andrew Haveron is also widely experienced both nationally and internationally as a soloist. His opening lines were mournful and beautifully measured.

It was a creditable performance by all, although I felt more projection from the soloist would have been appropriate.

Australian composer Katy Abbott, who was present in the audience, penned her piece “Fanfare for the Melancholy” as part of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s “50 Fanfares Project”.

It was the highlight of the evening, in particular, a real showcase for the brass section. The players seemed to embrace the piece with more conviction, joy and commitment than anything else performed during the concert. Ms Abbott graced the stage at its conclusion taking a very well-deserved bow.

Drawing inspiration from the Bohemian folk music that he loved, Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8 is joyful, lyrical and optimistic.

The familiar themes and passages were very well played. It was great to hear it again.

A guide to players on the inside cover of the program mentions “Players listed in grey, are Permanent Members of the SSO, not [italics added] appearing in this concert”. There are 47 of those. Those that did appear are a mixture of remaining permanent members, guest musicians, contract musicians and Sydney Symphony Fellows. I guess we could call this the “touring” version of the orchestra.

The concert was very well received by the audience, lots of cheers and shouts, with conductor Roger Benedict being called back three times.

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