Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Adelaide Town Hall. 28 Jun 2023
The second concert in the ASO’s Matinee Series is subtitled Elegance, and this surely describes the artistry of pianist Daniel de Borah. At the piano, he is elegance personified, and his performance of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.27 in B Flat, K.595, with the ASO under the baton of esteemed Graham Abbott in the delightfully refurbished Elder Hall is an object lesson in how it should be performed.
The concerto begins softly in the strings with more robust woodwinds. As sense of expectancy emerges as de Borah shifts on the piano bench and places his hands gently on the keyboard. Then emerges the gentlest of sounds from the piano, all perfectly articulated with crystal clear clarity. Abbott implements a sensible dynamic plan that allows the orchestra to confidently shine without ever overshadowing the piano. Abbott and de Borah rarely look at each other – just a sideways glance here and there – but the understanding between them is unmistakeable, and the result is a sublime balance between soloist and orchestra.
Like the Mozart, Haydn’s Symphony No.92 in G, the so-called Oxford, begins gently…and elegantly. The real interest in the piece comes in the third movement – the minuet and trio. Abbott chooses a moderate pace that allows the individual sections in the balanced orchestra to be clearly heard when they have something interesting to say. The horns and bassoons (just two of each) in particular sound generous and tuneful. Joshua Oates (principal oboe) is especially fine, and timpanist Andrew Penrose is precise, punctuated, and expressive throughout (and constantly checking his tuning. The Hall can be cold!). The presto final movement is bright and cheery, and guest concertmaster Elizabeth Layton in concert with Abbott ensure the strings remain light and graceful.
The ASO’s matinées are a welcome oasis in a busy week. Nothing taxing. Just classy music, played by classy musicians in a comfortable amount of time and a relaxed atmosphere.
When: 28 Jun
Where: Adelaide Town Hall