The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra's Three Great Romantics concert opened with the Overture from Carl Maria Von Weber’s romantic opera, Oberon. Inspired by a poem written by James Robinson Planche, Oberon tells the story of Oberon, the elf-king, who is magically summoned to save Sir Huon of Bordeaux. A piece begins with a solo horn which is met by the “answering sounds” of evocative violins from Oberon’s elf-world.

The second piece of the evening, Piano Concert in A minor, Op. 54 was composed by Robert Schumann to his love for his pianist wife Clara. Premiered in Leipzig on New Year’s Day in 1846, the piece contains a central musical theme which is woven between the piano and the ensemble. Containing three movements, the tranquil and emotive piano solo which underscores the piece was played by Sydney International Piano Competition winner, John Chen.

Beginning as an “expressive reverie”, Schumann’s first movement allegro affettuoso delineates a dialogue between the “heralding” oboe before a “return to earlier debates interrupts this dream” launching the soloist into “an extended cadenza, capped by a quick coda”. The grace and texture with which Chen navigates across the keys in the third movement Allegro Vivace is commanding and dazzling as the piece’s “theme surfaces buoyantly through harmonic sequences that build to an exhilarating conclusion”.

Following the intermission, conductor Oleg Caetani explains that Johannes Brahms thought of his Serenade No. 1 in D, Op. 11 as a fusion which he called a “symphony-serenade”. Though the word “symphony” was later crossed out from the title by Brahms, the symphonic elements which permeate the entire piece are unmistakeable. Brahm’s flair for the elegant results in a piece emboldened by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s brilliant interplay of clarinets, bassoons, cellos, flues and violin. An exuberant and vivacious surprise encore performance of Brahm’s Hungarian Dance No. 1, filled the Melbourne Town Hall with the majesty of violins as the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra brought the concert to a triumphant close.

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Venue: Melbourne Town Hall
Date/Time: Friday 29 August at 7.30pm
Bookings: or Ticketmaster on 1300 136 166

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