Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
March 18, 2018

Russian violinist Alina Ibragimova, ominously clad in funereal black, exerted deft control, a constant and powerful presence as she led 16 strings of the Australian Chamber Orchestra on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne. The theme of her program is described as “loss and death”, sometimes combining glimpses of “happiness and hope”. She doesn’t explain why or how, letting the music speak for itself.

The performance presented a finely tuned, mature and full-bodied string ensemble with excellent rapport in evidence in Hamer Hall, a noteworthy achievement given the number of guest musicians present. Guest principal double bass Tim Gibbs (principal double bass of London’s Philharmonia Orchestra) particularly made a fine impression from start to finish.

Alina Ibragimova, ACO, Death and the Maiden Alina Ibragimova and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Photo © Zan Wimberley

Soon realising that he had a “knockout hit” on his hands with the second movement of the String Quartet Op. 11 composed in 1936, Samuel Barber arranged it for string orchestra renaming it in the process Adagio for Strings. It has since become his most famous, most admired and most often-performed composition, renowned for its emotional force. Acknowledging...

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