Monday, March 02, 2015

David Robertson and Beethoven Nine

David Robertson presenting the
pre-concert talk
Normally pre-concert talks tell you a bit about each piece to be played but nothing much that sticks in your head for very long - at least that is my experience.

The talk on Saturday evening before the Sydney Symphony Gala concert (Berg, Bruckner, Beethoven) was quite different.

The SSO Chief Conductor David Robertson not only conducted the orchestra, he gave the pre-concert talk and it was fascinating and very dense.

Robertson spoke of the links between the pieces by Berg, Bruckner and Beethoven in a way that related it our experiences today. When he said that Beethoven wrote his Ode to Joy (Ninth Symphony) at a time when  people's rights were being suppressed and life was anything but joyful it made me wonder whether some musical genius out there is translating our current travails into joyful music.

The concert was a stunner. Soprano Miriam Gordon-Stewart sang  a heart rending and passionate Maria in Act III of Berg's Wozzeck and Simon O'Neill's tenor voice soared above the orchestra and massed choir in Beethoven's 9th. That is quite a feat in a hall with such underwhelming acoustics as the Sydney Opera House.

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