The Canberra Symphony Orchestra titled its third Llewellyn Hall concert of 2023 Winter Dreams: apposite, because with ornamental trees in flower and tulips pushing up — in mid-August! — winter is rapidly becoming just a memory in the nation’s capital.

No matter. This was an imaginative and satisfying concert under the baton of Alexander Briger, whose direction was precise and clear. No-one in the orchestra seemed in any doubt of the conductor’s expectations, and it showed in the discipline and energy of the playing throughout. This was Briger’s debut with the CSO, and the players’ eager responsiveness must encourage the hope that he will return soon.

Conductor Alexander Briger and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra. Photo © Martin Ollman

The program was a selection of works from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries: Erich Korngold’s suite Die Schneemann (The Snowman); Annie Hui-Hsin Hsieh’s Icy Disintegration; Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Wind Instruments, Timpani, Percussion and String Orchestra, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1 in G minor, Winter Dreams.

Korngold may be most often remembered for the music he...