Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Elder Hall. 5 Apr 2023
Presented in the recently refurbished Elder Hall, radiant with comfortable new seating and carpets, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s 2023 matinee series was launched with a program that highlighted the artistry of violinist Elizabeth Layton. Dubbed Radiance, the program included Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G, Hob.VIIa:4 (usually listed as Violin Concerto No.4), and Suk’s Serenade for Strings in E-flat Major, Op.6, which proved to be the audience’s favourite.
On a perfect autumn morning, the sun shone through the windows and the hall glowed as the string orchestra tuned not to an oboe but to the harpsichord. Haydn’s Violin Concerto in G is a bright, sunny, and generally unfussy composition. Its emotional heart is the adagio middle movement which is lyrical and intimate. Layton’s clean and almost sparse lines in the first movement gave way to warmth and sunniness in the adagio, and to playful and gently spirited playing in the final allegro.
Josef Suk’s four-movement Serenade is a different proposition altogether. It marks a change in Suk’s compositional style as he stepped away from the melancholy influence of Dvořák (who became his father-in-law) and started to infuse his writing with less heft and more grace and vitality. The second and third movements of the Serenade are fine examples of that, and Layton’s direction draws out the elegance and refinement inherent in the piece. The warmth of the celli and basses is particularly rich, and Layton’s light and gentle treatment of the closing ornaments in the adagio movement are deeply satisfying. This all gives way to the fun and shifting temperament in the final allegro.
The ASO preserved the elegance, simplicity, and serenity of both the Haydn and the Suk, and the audience left more cheery for the experience.
When: 5 Apr
Where: Elder Hall