Presented by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed 9 September 2017
On Friday night the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and special guest Alexei Volodin presented Romantic Concerto, an evening of passionate classical music.
Conductor Nicholas Carter introduced the Adelaide-premiere of James Ledger’s Hollow Kings. Carter described Ledger as “one of Australia’s greatest living composers.” Each movement took inspiration from one of Shakespeare’s kings – Macbeth, Henry VIII, Richard III, and King Lear – and was as chaotic and passionate as the ruler it depicted. Ledger included bluesy electric guitar, inspired by the lute music of Shakespeare’s time, and as a contrast between two worlds.
Mozart’s Symphony No 40 began with the playful and exquisite minor melody from the strings, cascading over the audience. The Symphony was composed in 1788 in Vienna, after the premiere of Don Giovanni. Though set in G Minor key the Symphony is vivacious, presenting dance-like rhythms and melodies.
The audience waited with anticipation to hear Alexei Volodin perform Brahms’ Piano Concerto No 2. The internationally renowned pianist did not disappoint as he mastered Brahms’ “fiercely difficult” score. Volodin is an active performer – swaying along to the orchestra, and portraying the emotion of the piano in his face and body language.
The Concerto began with dramatic horns. This opening theme is adapted by the piano and orchestra in a passionate flurry as the first movement continues. The second and third movements held lyrical conversations between the piano and stellar solos from the orchestra – including cello and woodwinds. The fourth and final movement regained the joyous energy of the first, and at times was inspired by Hungarian dances.
Romantic Concerto offers an ardent evening for symphony-goers, with appeal for both classical and modern tastes.
The final performance is Saturday Sep 10th at 6:30pm, Adelaide Town Hall.
Review by Nicola Woolford.