Guest conductor Nicholas Milton and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra closed out their 2015 Town Hall series with a Gallic-themed evening. Opening the program was American in Paris, George Gershwin’s colourful evocation of everyday bustle in the French capitol. Milton’s approach seemed overly polite at first, eventually finding its feet via some excellent individual riffs by trumpet, trombone and a trio of guest saxophones.
Former ABC Young Performer of the Year David Fung was soloist in Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G. A technically capable performance, it however lacked in nuance, particularly the solo line of the slow movement which failed to trace its expected emotional arc and seemed disconnected from the excellent solo woodwinds.
Fung’s charged pianism was best in the concerto’s breakneck finale and his fluid encore of Earl Wild’s virtuosic Etude arrangement of the Gershwin classic Embraceable You.
Unsurprising perhaps given his work in opera, Milton appeared comfortable with the expansive unfolding of the broad canvas that is Camille Saint-Saens’ Symphony No 3 in C minor, Op 78. The so called Organ Symphony ticked all the boxes for this enthusiastic audience,