Master Series 6. Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Adelaide Festival Theatre. 21 Sep 2018
The programming for the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Master Series 6 – A Time for Heroes – lives up to its name and is an eclectic mix of evocative warring themes and militaristic machismo.
Guest conductor Mark Wigglesworth is right at home with the score and conducts Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 (Eroica) from memory. His interpretation is expansive and acutely empathetic to the Beethoven’s desire to express both the nobility of man contrasted with base self-indulgence and hubris.
The concert begins with Mars, the Bringer of War from Holst’s The Planets suite. The piece needs no introduction and Wigglesworth imbues it with uncommon menace by exaggerating the contrast between various instruments and strongly articulating the early rhythmic pulse.
This is the perfect introduction for Walton’s Henry V suite. Its five sections are accompanied by dramatic recitations from Shakespeare’s historical drama Henry V by accomplished actor Mark Leonard Winter. His performance of the famously stirring St Crispin's Day speech is a highlight and one felt the hair on the back of one’s neck stir when he ardently exclaimed “And gentlemen in England now a-bed/ Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here/ And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks/ That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.” Winter is uneven in his performance (nerves?) and not every speech rises to the same heights as St Crispin. However, it matters not at all and the audience shower him with applause fit for a king.
But, Beethoven wins the day, and Wigglesworth ensures the audience leave humming its glorious melodies.
When: 21 Sep
Where: Festival Theatre