The anticipation at last night’s inaugural Sydney Symphony concert at the Sydney Town Hall was palpable: it was the orchestra’s first ‘real’ concert for almost a year. The green shoots which appeared at the start of a (hopefully) more normal concert year were verdant, encouraging and beautiful. Chief Conductor Designate Simone Young presided over a program of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Dvořák’s ‘New World’ Symphony. Mask wearing was compulsory but there was little social distancing.

Simone Young and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra Simone Young and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Nic Walker

The soloist in the Tchaikovsky was Daniel Röhn, a last minute replacement for Ray Chen. I was fascinated to read that both his (Röhn’s) father and grandfather were concertmasters of the Berlin Philharmonic during the Furtwängler years. After the “Once upon a time…” opening, Röhn adopted a slow release approach with distinctly tempered bravura but the sprays of demi-semi quavers were soon rocketing forth like sparks in passage work. At this point I should mention the contribution of the SSO’s wind section, which sounded particularly piquant...

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