The dark sound of violas introduces the mysterious theme of In Folk Style, the theme-and-variations first movement of Edvard Grieg’s Two Nordic Melodies. The theme Grieg used was presented to the composer by Frederik Due – a Norwegian diplomat – as a folk tune, but it later turned out to have been Due’s own invention. Led by Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud, the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Grieg and Beyondwas a study in themes and variations – the concert itself almost a set of variations on that form. A relatively straightforward theme and variations, In Folk Stylesaw the ACO navigating delicate, whispering entries in the opening, building to the full-throated sound of the combined ensemble. A variation in the violins, triplets creating a shimmering halo around the melody, was particularly magical.

Grieg and Beyond Henning Kraggerud and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Photo © Prudence Upton

Ross Edwards’ Entwinings, enjoying its world premiere performances on this tour, continued the exploration of variations in its second movement. The first, Animato, danced into life with bright string fragments – leaping across the ensemble from section to section – coalescing into a wider celebration of...