Music Review: Iconic Beethoven

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Presented by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed 18 March 2016

The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra presented Iconic Beethoven on Friday night. Principal conductor Nicholas Carter collaborated with renowned Croatian pianist Dejan Lazić to create an ambitious offering for the first of the 2016 Master Series concerts. Classical music enthusiasts came out in force to show their support.

The program included Strauss’ Don Juan (1889), Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G (1932), and Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 in C Minor (1808). Carter utilised the excellent acoustics of the Adelaide Town Hall to bring to life these big statement pieces. Although the two later works were performed first, Beethoven more than kept up with them.

Carter was full of life as he conducted the Strauss. The swashbuckling piece that recounts the exploits of the famed lover offered sweeping melodies carried by the principal violin, heralding horns, and chirping winds.

Ravel’s concerto started with a jolt, though soon adopted a unique lyrical jazz style. The second movement began with a piano solo, at times playful and others menacing, and gave Lazić an opportunity to shine. This labour of love from one of the early-twentieth century’s greatest composers gained Carter and Lazić ardent applause from the audience.

The first four notes of Beethoven’s Symphony No 5 satiated the mass anticipation of the audience. The iconic first movement went too quickly, each note delivered with perfection. The second and third movements offered well-loved grandiose themes and piercing solos.

The irresistible fourth movement stood out, being performed with a distinct reverence. The all-encompassing theme swept through the orchestra, honoured by each section in turn. Tension built as they reached the final bars of the symphony.

Immediately after the final notes, the audience broke into a torrent of applause. Carter praised each section of the orchestra with genuine gratitude and affection, and was personally brought back onto the stage four times by the audience. The Master Series could not have had a more successful premiere.

Reviewed by Nicola Woolford

Venue: Adelaide Town Hall
Season: 18 & 19 March 2016
Duration: 1 hour 40 mins (including intertval)
Tickets: $35 – $113

 

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