Mahler 5

mahler 5 ASOMasters 9. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Adelaide Town Hall. 22 Nov 2014

The ASO last played Mahler’s 5th Symphony in 2011 under Arvo Volmer.  It was superb.  Tonight’s reading by guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth is better.

From the very first moments it was clear that Wigglesworth had a deep understanding of the composition.  The dynamics are beautifully interpreted, the phrasing and articulation is astute and throughout Wigglesworth gives a very wide berth to maudlin sentimentality and demonstrative expressionism.  Even though the entire performance is underlined by clarity of thought and precision of execution, it radiates warmth and plain and humble emotion.

The principals and section leaders of the mighty ASO are the embodiment of controlled excitement.  As always Concertmaster Natsuko Yoshimoto sets the tone with her tremendous artistry, and guest principal horn, Adrian Uren, gives a magnificent performance in the Scherzo third movement.

At its conclusion the appreciative audience rewards Wigglesworth and the ASO with thunderous applause, shouts and wolf whistles.  The smiles on the faces of the nearly spent orchestra are wide, and deservedly proud.  

The evening’s double-bill program begins with French pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet tossing off Liszt’s ‘Piano Concerto No 2 in A’ as if it were his personal plaything.  Bavouzet is surely one of the piano greats of the day and his repertoire is extensive.  Several years ago in relation to his performance of ‘Bartók’s Piano Concerto No 2’ with the ASO I penned that it seemed at times that Bavouzet was the second conductor on stage as the control was seamlessly backwards and forwards in partnership. This performance is no different.  He smiles across the piano at principal cellist Simon Cobcroft during their duet, and looks solicitously into Wigglesworth’s eyes when it is time to return the baton.  The applause for Bavouzet is heartfelt and wild, and his Pierné encore simply left us wanting more.

This is a stunning program.

Kym Clayton

When: Closed
Where: Adelaide Town Hall
Bookings: Closed