The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s contribution to the 2023 Adelaide Festival takes the audience on a fantastical journey through all kinds of mythology, from Greek nymphs and faith healers to the folk tales of One Thousand and One Nights.

The concert opened with Jean Sibelius’s tone poem The Oceanides (Opus 73, 1913–1914), which the composer also referred to as Aallottaret, the Finnish word for ‘spirits of the waves’.

In Greek mythology, the nymphs known as the Oceanids were the daughters of Oceanus, the river that encircled the world, and the sea goddess Tethys.

The Oceanides is a lyrical work, opening with a roll of the tympani, and shimmering flutes and harps evoke a gently pulsating sea. It’s a daydreamy piece, moody like the ocean itself, and reaches a stormy crescendo before calm returns. The ASO, under visiting Finnish conductor Emilia Hoving who would be well acquainted with her countryman Sibelius’s music, gave an eloquent performance, with every instrumental group clearly articulated.

Jennifer Koh in Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Fantastical Journeys. Photo © Tim Standing

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