Review: MSO – Beethoven 5, Hamer Hall

Karina Canellakis
Performing ArtsHub

Beethoven’s 5th Symphony needs no introduction. It’s four opening notes seem to have made their way, by osmosis, into the brains of the most unacquainted novices. So how is it that such a familiar piece of music is still capable of eliciting such fervent excitement? With familiar notes comes the opportunity to make the subtleties of interpretation an artform in itself, a task that conductor Karina Canellakis tackled with relish and vigour.


That prominence of tempo that initially seemed to be the stamp of Kishima alone, acquired a second set of finger prints in hindsight, once the unaccompanied orchestra has dispensed with the first movement of The 5th in record time. A simple, yet riveting choice by Canellakis of an allegro hinted at more than casual hand in Kishima’s approach. This left Canellakis with the time and slightly wrongfooted audience needed, to attack the post-duh-duh-duh-dum movements with renewed energy and vitality. One can’t but be impressed with her ability to put her mark on every aspect of the performance with her driving sense of tempo. This is not to characterise it, as a one-speed freight train. Her remarkable skill lies in her ability to change tack at speed, be it to bring in a crescendo or sudden pause without the change feeling jarring in any way.

An outstanding performance, unafraid to take risks and brilliant from start to finish.
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