An eerie quiet hung in excess of the Live performance Corridor stage as strings, harps and celeste evoked the whisper of wind on snow for Shostakovich’s epic Symphony No.11, “The Calendar year 1905”.
Conductor Vasily Petrenko, his heritage torn concerning Russia and Ukraine, put a human encounter to a dramatic account of tyranny and destruction, echoing down a century of conflict and decline.
He held the massed forces of WA Symphony Orchestra in the palm of his hand on Friday, the quiet before the storm giving existence to the outdated adage: fantastic bands participate in loud, great bands perform quietly.
The invoice opened in lighter mood with Nielsen’s Maskarade, a humorous romp that Petrenko mirrored in sprightly manner keeping strings in abeyance for comedian woodwind flourishes prior to unleashing whole orchestral consequences.
Crisp and energetic from go to whoa, it formed a energetic amuse bouche to Mozart’s Violin Concerto No.4 and Australian virtuoso Emily Sunlight.
Solar swayed to the strains of a pared-back ensemble, drifting in precisely to the upper sign up with a lightness of touch that resonated by means of the whole corridor, waxing vigorously in the reduce reaches prior to a flawless cadenza drew every single nuance from every observe.
Gentle wind and strings rolled gently into the Andante 2nd movement, Sunlight channelling the cantabile top quality of the music redolent of Mozart’s operatic arias. A duet with oboe manufactured an effortless segue into the tantalising lines of the cadenza ahead of dissolving to syrupy cascades, fading to silence.
Leading out the Rondeau finale, Sunshine morphed to prima ballerina, launching virtuosic flurries with the assurance of an artist at the top rated of her recreation before switching to extra bucolic fare droning and cavorting then regaining her much more stately gait prior to reprising the virtuoso frenzy.
Right after the interval, Shostakovich’s fateful shimmer turned to a menacing rumble in timpani and trumpet as the slightest gestures ushered in historical past on a wave of sound like a quickening breeze.
Distant horn led to mystery in fifths, relieved by folkloric flute then returning to strings, redoubled in ever-present trumpet and timpani.
Shostakovich wrote about a tranquil revolution answered by a massacre, each motion an episode in the drama the initially “Palace Square” rolling inexorably into “Ninth of January” — the tragic working day announced with no fanfare then erupting in chaos jagged chords and drumbeat summoning violence and slaughter.
Rumbling across brass and reduced strings hinted at unseen darkness while violin and viola spoke of urgent hope, as if pleading in opposition to doom and destruction.
Revolutionary songs to represent the dead would have more idiomatic drive to a Russian audience, however the sense of outrage spoke volumes around many years mirrored in Petrenko’s have boycott of his homeland all through the existing conflict.
Severe fifths throughout woodwind answered by trumpets activated renewed attack in strings and brass, booming percussion, gong and clashing cymbals.
Just as all of a sudden, harp and celeste restored the opening topic punctuated by muted trumpet, soulful flute, horns and trombone fading to a halting pizzicato in changeover to “Eternal Memory”.
Mellow, mournful violas traced darkish undertones picked up in very low brass and woodwind, devolving in a observe of finality to strings just before making to anthemic depth across the ensemble, then settling on bassoon and a light exit.
Angular assault in the finale, “The Tocsin”, sounded the alarm in brass and percussion as Petrenko modelled seem and sentiment with every single conquer and gesture grand themes and challenging harmonies offset by majestic octaves in strings, subsiding to the timeless soundscape of the Palace Square and a hauntingly plaintive cor anglais.
Finally, destiny tolled out in timpani and drum as horns rejoined the fray about frenzied woodwind, and trumpet summoned the ensemble for just one very last heroic climax.
Wild cheers and applause explained it all, with the ultimate ovation saved for violas.
WASO returns to Perth Concert with Britten’s War Requiem on August 19 and 20.