Liszt Tasso, Lament and Triumph
Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor
Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition
Ingrid Fliter, piano/Pinchas Steinberg
Sydney Opera House, July 1

Following this excellent concert I was able to speak with the conductor in the Green Room at the Sydney Opera House. Pinchas Steinberg is a fascinating man to talk to. His experiences as a conductor over the past fifty years and his views on the future of classical music were absorbing, if somewhat alarming: he is convinced that unless classical music concerts become more compelling, with more exciting events, the artform will gradually die. And he doesn’t mean doing populist deals with rock bands in order to attract a younger audience.

If the success of this concert was anything to go by, he was correct. On paper it was a standard three-work program familiar to classical audiences – a short orchestral item or overture, a concerto and a major symphonic work. It could have been a very ordinary evening, and more often than not in my experience, it usually is. In this case, Steinberg showed what a difference diligent and inspiring conducting can make.

The concert opened with Liszt’s tone poem Tasso, Lament and...