The Sidney Myer Free Concerts often provide the opportunity for the Melbourne Symphony to road-test up and coming talent – conductors Diego Matheuz and Benjamin Northey are notable Bowl debutants who have gone on to successful appointments with the orchestra. In difficult climatic conditions, Hungarian conductor Gergely Madaras finished his week-long residency presiding over a program that occasionally proved challenging.
Carefully checked exuberance started proceedings well, with a disciplined account of the contrasting folk-inspired moods of Smetana’s Overture to The Bartered Bride. Symphonic in its scale, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major, Op 35 is a demanding test for soloist and conductor. Violinist Ji Won Kim drew audience approval for her admirable display of technical facility, secure intonation, fluid bow and a beautifully expressive canzonetta. Kim’s performance grew more assured with each passing minute, yet the marriage between soloist and orchestra was often uneasy, threatening to derail in a fast-paced finale.
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