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Archived event

Performance details

Thursday 14 July 2022 at 7.30pm
Friday 15 July 2022 at 7.30pm
Saturday 16 July 2022 at 2pm

Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

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Selections from this performance are available to stream on MSO.LIVE.



Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Vasily Petrenko conductor
Jack Schiller bassoon


Vaughan Williams The Wasps: Overture
Matthew Laing Of Paradise Lost, Bassoon Concerto (World premiere of an MSO Commission)
Elgar Symphony No.2

About this performance

Lauded Russian-British conductor Vasily Petrenko joins the MSO for this varied program inspired by English music and literature across the centuries.

  • Early 20th century English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams composed incidental music to Aristophanes’s ancient Greek Comedy The Wasps – an absurd story of an old man addicted to the law courts in a quirky satire of the Greek judicial system. Vaughan Williams’s overture evokes this zany humour, with buzzing insects and playful passages giving way to soaring pastoral melodies.
  • “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” is probably the most famous line from John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. It’s from this 1667 masterpiece that Australian composer Matthew Laing draws inspiration to depict the bassoon, performed by MSO Principal Bassoon Jack Schiller, as a poetic antihero of the orchestra: subjected to heaven; at peace in hell.
  • Elgar’s Second Symphony is what the composer himself described as the height of artistic achievement: an ‘absolute’ work – that is, a piece not based on a story or theme, but composed for the sake of music itself. Through passages of wistfulness, gusto, spookiness, and soft beauty, Vasily Petrenko, Gramophone’s 2017 Artist of the Year, brings energy and critical accolades to Elgar’s self-described ‘passionate pilgrimage’ of the soul.

Duration: approx. 110 minutes including interval

Cybec Logo

Matthew Laing’s work, Of Paradise Lost, Concerto for Bassoon was commissioned by the MSO during Matthew’s tenure as MSO’s 2021 Cybec Young Composer in Residence. The MSO’s Cybec Young Composer in Residence program is generously supported by The Cybec Foundation.

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