Melbourne Symphony Orchestra: Sheku Kanneh-Mason – Mid-Season Gala

A full lobby of seasoned subscribers attending alongside a plethora of younger individuals and households was a delight to see at Saturday’s Mid-Season Gala introduced by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Deborah Cheetham’s Lengthy Time Residing Right here has grow to be an vital mainstay of MSO performances. On this event, cellist Miranda Brockman’s spoken Acknowledgment of Nation was accompanied in fervent and honest style by concertmaster Sophie Rowell and string principals Matthew Tomkins, Christopher Moore and David Berlin.

With Sydney-based Anne Boyd welcomed by chief conductor Jaime Martín, this efficiency of her On the Rising of the Solar was launched by the composer and devoted to the reminiscence of famous violinist and trainer of a number of MSO musicians, Alice Waten. Commissioned by the Kuring-gai Symphony Orchestra for the centenary of Australia’s Federation, it was written in homage to Boyd’s trainer, Australian compositional big, Peter Sculthorpe, whose affect abounds.

As famous in this system, philosophically the music is predicated upon the intersection of Christian Love with Buddhist silence, an idea that lies on the coronary heart of Boyd’s artistic exercise. The power of the piece lies in its orchestration and overarching connection of concepts. A resplendent brass fanfare serves as an introduction, giving approach to translucent string textures and an excellent show of simply what number of totally different timbres can be utilized to color a single pitch. Calm and clear, Martín demonstrated that not a single gesture is to be wasted in speaking a well-defined, clear texture. Boyd sat on stage to watch and was applauded warmly at its conclusion.

Greeted enthusiastically by the Hamer Corridor viewers, this live performance heralded the much-anticipated Melbourne debut of widespread cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason. A number of damaged bow hairs summarised his dedication to Shostakovich’s second concerto because the 23-year-old pushed his instrument to the very brink in thrilling style.

Program info for this live performance famous the concerto’s genesis as one of many a number of devoted to and written for the cello’s most imposing determine, Mstislav Rostropovich. Enjoying with the music close-by as an aide-mémoire appeared even handed on this dense, sophisticated rating (particularly after some jet-lagged media appearances earlier within the week), though Kanneh-Mason didn’t appear to consult with the printed half in any respect.

Assured in even essentially the most technical passages, Kanneh-Mason relished lengthy line and tenacious pizzicato chords in violent outbursts. This efficiency was tight, and visual moments of interplay between conductor and soloist have been welcome.

If missing the chew, assault and gravitas of the work’s dedicatee, Kanneh-Mason makes up for it with soul, swagger and an enticing but enigmatic character. Nonetheless, one wonders if he’s in the end extra suited to Schumann or Saint-Saëns by nature.

As a bonus, a cello quintet association primarily based on Komm, süßer Tod offered the unlikely Bach encore one chooses when not enjoying from the celebrated solo suites and proved virtually extra fascinating than the concerto efficiency itself.

Within the second half of this live performance, the “courageous new world” of Dvořák’s Symphony No. 9 afforded to us by Jaime Martín was stuffed with sweeping gestures and brandished fists. Immediately partaking from its first dramatic motif, Martín carried out from reminiscence and elicited dedicated and detailed enjoying stuffed with shock and nuance.

Heroic efforts by hornist Saul Lewis and his part together with well-judged and characterful contributions from Robert Cossom on triangle enhanced a lusciousness of string enjoying and extremely turning into decrease brass presence all through. It could be remiss to not point out the cor anglais solo of Michael Pisani, which was deftly phrased and imbued with a cushty sense of ahead momentum in a second motion that may simply undergo from stasis.

The high quality traits of this efficiency lifted Dvořák 9 past the realm of “pops” repertoire. Taking the ultimate viewers response at face worth, it seems that MSO programming and advertising departments are properly in-sync with the expectations of a lot of its subscriber and supporter base, each of that are important for organisational longevity.

Total, surtitles heralding the graduation of every piece appear largely redundant, significantly once they trigger delay to the conductor’s intentions to start out after interval, though entry to this system is basically on the perils of Arts Centre WiFi. Roving photographers and digicam operators have been largely unobtrusive, and it was good to see this well-attended efficiency streamed as half the first-rate MSO.LIVE digital sequence.

If nothing else, this gala confirmed as soon as once more simply how a lot Melbourne loves its orchestra, and simply how visibly appreciative the musicians of the MSO are of their adoring public.

Photograph credit score: Laura Manariti.


Nicholas Dinopoulos reviewed the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s Sheku Kanneh-Mason – Mid-Season Gala, carried out at Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Corridor on July 30, 2022.