Sydney Symphony Orchestra subscribers had an opportunity to hear Umberto Clerici wielding his 260-year-old Carlo Antonio Testore cello before he takes a year away from performing to concentrate on his conducting career.

Already in demand for his baton work with the orchestra, he has been getting even more conducting gigs since COVID closed down international borders, hence he is giving up his role as Principal Cello. Catherine Hewgill continues as Principal, with Leah Lynn as Acting Associate Principal.

Umberto Clerici. Photograph courtesy of Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Clerici, always an engaging and engaged performer, was joined by SSO Concertmaster Andrew Haveron and home-grown London-based pianist Piers Lane for Beethoven’s Triple Concerto during the first half of this concert celebrating the music of two German greats.

But before we got to that, the program started in spectacular fashion with a new piece, Torrentby Sydney composer Harry Sdraulig, commissioned as part of the SSO’s 50 Fanfares Project. Although only eight minutes long, the work covers a lot of ground and shows the composer’s mastery of the orchestral palette with rushing streams evoked by the strings and,...