It’s been a good year for Brisbane concert-goers. Back in April we had the London Symphony Orchestra and now, just six months later, we have the Academy of St Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell.
This performance, the second of ASMF’s two Brisbane gigs, was made up of firm favourites. Titled Classic Grandeur, it included Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro overture, Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, Op. 61, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 (the promotional material notes that the “stereotypes are reversed, with Beethoven at his most radiant and Mozart in a stormy and impassioned mood”).
Reversal duly noted, but this was still conservative programming. What’s more, of the last two times Bell has played in Brisbane (in 2010 and 2017, one performance had him playing the Beethoven concerto, and the other had a programme made up of – surprise surprise – Mozart and Beethoven.
I’m absolutely certain Brisbane audiences would have been just as keen to see the Academy play at least some of the more unusual contemporary repertoire they’re digging into in their US performances, including new works from Edgar Meyer, Jennifer Higdon and Jake Heggie. Maybe next time?