Presented by Adelaide Symphony Orchestra
Reviewed 7th July 2017
Christoph König heralds the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as guest conductor for Dedication, the fifth in their Master Series for 2017. König leads the orchestra with refined yet fluid movements, as he intuits each piece. The program begins with a sampling of sweet indoor music, Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin and Saint-Saëns’ Piano Concerto No 2 in G Minor, before adding a touch of energy and nostalgia with Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony No 3.
Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin begins with an ethereal melody carried by the woodwinds before inspiring the whole orchestra to join. Melodies are shared between the woodwinds and strings throughout the piece, with harp and trumpet making poignant contributions in the Prelude and Rigaudon respectively. Originally written as a suite for solo piano in six movements, Ravel later orchestrated four of these. The piece pays homage to the Baroque musical tradition, and is dedicated to Ravel’s friends who fell during World War I.
Canadian pianist Louis Lortie joins the orchestra for Saint-Saëns’ much-loved Piano Concerto No 2 in G Minor. Lortie furrows his brow with concentration, his reverence for the piece clear. His body and hands move fluidly with the music. The first movement begins andante with a beatific melody tripping off the keys of the piano, slowly gaining intensity, while the orchestra joins with sweeping accompaniment. The second movement is a bright scherzo, with joyful melodies carried between the piano, winds, and strings. Orchestra members can be caught smiling as they listen to Lortie play the piano. The third and final movement is impassioned, as the orchestra perfectly matches the energy of the piano. The concerto captures the romance of Parisian life in the 1860s.
After delighted applause, Lortie treats the audience to an encore performance of Liszt’s Sonetto 47 del Petrarca.
Following a brief intermission, the orchestra turns their attention to Mendelssohn’s “Scottish” Symphony No 3. Mendelssohn began composing the symphony while touring Scotland as a young man in 1829, though it was not completed for twelve years. Soon after its premiere it was dedicated to Queen Victoria. It is not inspired by Scottish music or folksong as such, but the decayed grandeur and majesty of the ruined castles Mendelssohn visited on his tour. Sweet and melancholic, Mendelssohn’s travels offer a resounding theme that carries between each movement. Highlights include the haunting violins in the first movement, the playful clarinets beginning the second movement, the sombre melody carried by the entire orchestra in the third movement, and the rallying, almost military culmination of the fourth movement.
The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra offers a romantic and breathtaking concert with Dedication. Special guests König and Lortie make this an evening not easily forgotten.
Reviewed by Nicola Woolford
Venue: Adelaide Town Hall
Season: 7th – 8th July
Duration: 110 minutes
Tickets: $35.00 – $115.00
Bookings: Adelaide Symphony Orchestra