Masterful unity in contrasts

Asher Fisch
The West Australian

Two contrasting works and two different orchestras launched WASO’s Masters series, channelling masterpieces from distant, conflicted eras into our own.
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, born of the Napoleonic age, deploys an unadorned ensemble which principal conductor Asher Fisch led with masterfully minimal gestures through the delicate opening in timpani, strings and woodwind, cutting the air with aplomb for the brass.
Soloist Veronika Eberle shared the delightful anticipation of her entry, swaying gently to the rhythm before drifting in with a sinuously lyrical tone, robust downward strokes and ethereal harmonics that posed a perfect complement to the measured, structured sound beneath.
The energy and acuity of the climactic cadenza to the first movement so rapt the cognoscenti crowd, they burst into applause, against convention.
In the meditative calm of the second movement, control was the essence. Two dozen pizzicato fiddles in sync with Eberle’s deft bowing and, again, exquisite harmonics, took the breath away.
Launching attacca into the finale, she broke the reverie with the familiar surging theme which, in Beethoven’s enduring style, comes around again and again with renewed vigour.
Another virtuosic cadenza drew the collective breath before the energy of the ensemble broke through for a powerful conclusion and multiple ovations.