28 June 2018

A mixed bag

I'm starting to see my error in not attending ACO concerts before now. They are seriously good, if in a unique and identifiable way. Lovely sound and great energy and reliable togetherness. Not sure how period-authentic is the performance but so what. I loved the final Haydn London symphony with its well shared understandings of dynamics within and between phrases, but I just doubt a court orchestra would have done it quite like that (although I think this was first performed in a commercial theatre). So what? The period movement is interesting, but we don't have recordings so the performances can't be other than affected by our experiences, and anyway, why shouldn't our modern performances be influenced by what's happened in the last 250 years? It's the nature of art, society and everything to change. So I drooled over their London symphony. There were two world premieres on the program, too. One by Samuel Adams (son of one of the John Adams). That was jumpy piece built on continuing triplet motifs moving through the ensemble and exploring issues of interpersonal dynamics. I liked it well enough but would like to hear it again to gain some acquaintance. More traditional others were not so generous. The second world premiere was by our own Uzbekistan-Aussie, the much loved Elena Katz-Chernin. This was a work in four movements about an escape from tyranny to Australia. Far more melodic, gentle, evident, accessible and accepted by our traditional friends. Me too. The major work of the night was Shostakovich Cello concerto no.1 Ebmaj played by Steven Isserlis. Great work; great player. There was easy responsiveness between enhanced orchestra (featuring horn and other woodwinds) and the solo cello, even if I felt the cello was sometimes lost under the sound of 35-or-so ensemble players. But then SI did not seem particularly loud even at his loudest. But a fabulous work played really well. And the pre-concert talk was a good introduction, not least by interviewing Sam Adams, composer and jazz bassist. So, a great night. BTW, we ate before (pub food: fish'n'chips; burger'n'chips) in the Wig & Pen downstairs. They deserve more support from Llewellyn attendees.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra performed works by Sam Adams, Shostakovich, Elena Katz-Chernin and Haydn. The Sam Adams and Elena Katz-Chernin were world premieres. Steven Isserlis (cello) played the Shostakovich Cello Concerto no.1 Ebmaj.

No comments: