Melbourne Symphony Orchestra | Jaime Martín conducts Bruch and Dvořák
November 18, 2023, Hamer Hall, Melbourne
Jaime Martín conductor
Jack Liebeck violin
Paul Grabowsky – Four Elements – World premiere of an MSO Commission
Bruch – Violin Concerto No.1
Dvořák- Symphony No.5
Being a Sydneysider I marvel at the inquisitiveness of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra audience and their seeming willingness to accept music so far removed from the canon of classical repertoire and, indeed, current trends in new music composition. In a concert which included a popular pot-boiler, Bruch’s 1st Violin Concerto, and a tuneful old friend, Dvořák’s 5th Symphony, the inclusion of a work by the renowned jazz man Paul Grabowsky, who was previously a composer-in- residence for the MSO, shows how the orchestra is reaching out to different parts of the music community. His overture-like Four Elements was remarkable for the stunning and dazzling solo playing of trumpeter Shane Hooten, tubist Timothy Buzbee and percussionist Shaun Trubiano.
The large audience was really looking forward to the Bruch concerto. British/German soloist Jack Liebeck has built an Australian profile in recent times as in 2022 he became the new artistic director of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Liebeck made one appreciate this work all over again with an exquisitely mature performance, enthralling the audience from beginning to end. Superb filigree playing in the delicate passages was matched with awesome power and projection in the bravura writing. Any concerto is a collaboration between soloist and orchestra and Martín and the MSO were perfect partners.
Chief conductor Jaime Martín approached the Dvorak’s 5th Symphony as if engaging in a conversation with an old friend. He shaped the sumptuous melodic lines and warm, rich harmonies with ease allowing space for his wonderful orchestral colleagues to weave elegant solos or rumbustious interruptions. Throughout, the entire brass section were thrilling and the colours the MSO woodwind players delivered were magic. And as ever the string section of this orchestra delivers the goods, warm here, funky in the scherzo and riveting in the fast passages. Lots of curtain calls ensued and all deserved.