Heard the MCO last Thursday, under Sir Neville Marriner. Vaughan Williams, Douglas Weiland and Walton. A fantastic concert. The great surprise was the Weiland clarinet concerto. The work had an english pastorale feel to it so it blended extremely well between the other two works. The string playing was impeccable, perhaps not surprising since the orchestra comprises Melbourne’s very best young chamber musicians. The wonder is that they did not tour the program to Sydney. Probably the cost, but Marriner alone would surely have sold out the City Recital Hall. Perhaps it was another tribute to the parochialism of Australian music.
The orchestra is a credit to Bill Hennessy, its Artistic Director. I knew of Hennessy’s past involvement with the ACO and the Australian String Quartet. What I did not know was that he had, as a young violinist, spent three years playing with Marriner’s Academy of St Martin in the Fields. It all shows, including through the added bits on the program: a Sibelius piece, with Hennessy leading, the orchestra standing in their usual performance mode, and later, as encore, a piece from Walton’s film music for Henry the Fifth, this time with Marriner conducting and the orchestra seated.
The MCO is a gem, with all the associated fire and facets. May they prosper, to all our benefit.