James EhnesLeft - James Ehnes. Photo - Benjamin Ealovega

You can take me where you will, I thought, settling in for the MSO's Four Seasons In One Night concert.

The centrepiece of the program was Antonio Vivaldi's The Four Seasons. Vivaldi is regarded in classical circles as being something of a lower order composer, though I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps it can be put down to the Triple J effect - where the perceived value of a piece of music is inversely proportionate to how popular it is. If so, Vivaldi was doomed the moment they started playing his music in shopping malls.

Nonetheless, The Four Seasons is a delightful composition and was done great justice (unsurprisingly) by the MSO and director/violinist James Ehnes.

Preceded by Elgar's Serenade for Strings and two of Beethoven's Romances for Violin and Orchestra, the program set a tone of playful optimism and renewal, no doubt in an attempt to coax Melbourne out of its dreary winter and usher in some long-overdue spring weather. Judging by the weekend's warmth and sunshine, it seems to have worked!

The MSO seem to be settling into their new temporary digs at Town Hall, and the modestly sized orchestra was in fine form under Ehnes' direction. The acoustics were good and the inclusion of a harpsichord and its characteristic nasal sound nicely complemented the sonority of the strings.

After concluding to rapturous applause and the thunderous thudding of feet more suited to a rock concert (blame those uncouth Vivaldi fans!) the MSO rewarded a grateful audience with an encore performance - Bach's Andante.

Four Seasons In One Night was another well-chosen selection executed flawlessly and with enthusiasm by the MSO, who continue to do a great service in making the bountiful realm of classical music accessible by bringing it to life with freshness and vitality.


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presents
Four Seasons in One Night

Violin/Director James Ehnes

BEETHOVEN Romances for Violin and Orchestra
ELGAR Serenade in E minor, Op.20
VIVALDI The Four Seasons, Op.8, Nos. 1-4

Venue: Melbourne Town Hall
Date/Time: Friday 24 September 2010 at 7:30pm
Tickets: $80.00 - $30.00
Bookings: www.mso.com.au