Live review: Master Series Concert – Sunshine and Spirit, ASO

Christopher Seaman
Adelaide Independent Weekly

By Diana Carroll

Adelaide’s music lovers were given a joyous treat with the superb playing of young Chinese-born violinist Feng Ning when he joined with the ASO for this Master Series concert.

Sergei Prokofiev’s “Violin Concerto No 2” is indeed a curious piece that manages to unite Soviet structuralism with Spanish folk music. Ning gave an electrifying performance throughout, executing even the most difficult passages with a cheeky insouciance.

There is an engaging spontaneity to Ning’s playing that belies the technical brilliance which makes such a performance possible. There was a radiant synergy between Ning and guest conductor Christopher Seaman, on loan from his residency as music director of the Rochester Philharmonic. Together, Seamen and Ning coaxed the very best from the ASO. The orchestra seemed to take genuine pleasure in its playing, adding a delightful pertness to the musicianship.

Elgar’s well-known “In The South” overture opened the program with an Italianate feel. This is a full-bodied episodic work that rolls langorously through its various moods. The harp work in the slow passage was especially pleasing and the climax was suitably satisfying.

An expressive interpretation of Mendelssohn’s “Symphony No. 5 in D Minor” rounded out this excellent concert. Known as the “Reformation Symphony”, the religious influence is unmistakable in this dramatic work. The orchestra played meticulously under Seaman’s considered conducting to give a moving performance. – August 20, Town Hall