The West Australian Symphony Orchestra’s latest symphonic offering delivered crowd-pleaser after crowd-pleaser without the aural toothache associated with too much of a good thing. A masterful handling indeed! Each piece drew on a broad palette of moods and orchestral colours, getting progressively grittier throughout the evening: Schubert’s ‘Unfinished’ Symphony, followed by Ibert’s lively Flute Concerto (with WASO’s Principal Flute Andrew Nicholson as soloist) and the ‘primitivist’ aesthetic of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. But first, as WASO’s Principal Conductor Asher Fisch addressed the audience and acknowledged the atrocities currently occurring in Ukraine, the Perth Concert Hall lit itself up in blue and yellow while WASO delivered a moving performance of the Ukrainian national anthem.

WASO Rite of Spring

The only completely orchestrated movements of Schubert’s Symphony No 8 form a compelling twosome in the absence of their sketched counterparts; the melancholic drama of the first against the bittersweet sonatina of the second. Fisch opened the work with even-handedness and restraint with the soft celli/bass...